Tech

Police Deal Blow To Global ‘Hackers-For-Hire’ Industry, But There’s Still A Long Way To Go

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Anders Hagstrom Justice Reporter
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Police from a dozen countries, including the U.S., shut down what they believe to be the largest hackers-for-hire website in the world Wednesday, helping to stop the flow of cash through the industry.

Hackers-for-hire have low prices and offer a product with an eternal demand: petty revenge. Rivals, jilted lovers, and the especially immature had frequently taken advantage of Webstresser.org to enlist an army of hackers to make their target’s life on the internet a living hell. Authorities shut down the website Wednesday and arrested four of its top administrators, McClatchy DC reported.

Dutch tech police and the U.K. National Crime Agency headed up the investigation, with assistance from the U.S. and nine other nations. Webstresser’s most frequent method of attack was the direct denial of service or DDoS attack, in which hackers flood a user’s network with enough miscellaneous data to overwhelm it, kicking the targeted user offline and preventing them from logging back on until the attack is over, sometimes even longer. For as little as $18.99, a customer could enlist the hackers for a month of sporadic attacks. Authorities claimed Webstresser launched more than 4 million attacks for roughly 136,000 customers before its shutdown.

“The orchestrated attacks targeted critical online services offered by banks, government institutions and police forces, as well as victims in the gaming industry,” Europol said in a statement.

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