Cyber crime police have swooped on two homes in Sunderland as part of a major crackdown on an online hacking operation.
Operation Vivarium, co-ordinated by the Regional Cyber Crime team and the National Crime Agency (NCA), targeted users of a hacking group called Lizard Squad and a tool they have developed called Lizard Stresster.
The software used Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks which allowed people to pay the hackers to take websites offline for up to eight hours at a time.
The attacks worked by flooding web servers and websites with massive amounts of data and leaving them inaccessible to users.
Address visits co-ordinated by the NCA have taken place across the country this week involving officers from a host of different police forces including officers from the North East Regional Special Operations Unit cyber crime team.
Two people who were linked to the Lizard Stresser website were visited at separate addresses in Sunderland and given advice by officers.
The pair are not believed to be responsible for DDoS attacks but were spoken to about the risk of entering into serious forms of cyber crime.
A spokesperson from the North East Regional Special Operations Unit (NER said: “Such attacks are illegal, can prevent individuals from accessing vital online services and can cause significant financial and reputational damage to businesses.
“Committing cyber crime can result in severe restrictions on people’s freedom, access to the internet, digital devices and future career prospects.”
The government’s Cyber Essentials Scheme provides guidance on how to guard against and mitigate threats from cyber crime.
Further advice on staying safe online can be found on Cyberstreetwise.com and Getsafeonline.org.