Published On: Fri, Nov 21st, 2014 on 2:18 pm

Leeds computer hijacking suspects arrested in international operation

Leeds Computer Hijacker Arrests

Image: NCA and YouTube

Four people have been arrested in the UK as part of an operation targeting users of software designed to control and steal information from computers.

Led by the National Crime Agency (NCA) and involving officers from a number of regional crime units, raids were carried out over several days to target cyber-criminals using tools known as Remote Access Trojans (RATs).

RATs can gain complete control over computers, also having the ability to turn victims’ webcams on and off, access banking or other personal information, download potentially illegal content, and instruct the victim’s computer to help commit acts of criminality such as Distributed Denial of Service (DDOS) attacks.

Three men – two 33-year old’s and a 30-year-old – were arrested in Armley, Leeds on 20 November.

A day before, a 20-year-old man was arrested in Chatham, Kent, by the South East ROCU (SEROCU) .

The UK operation is part of international activity, coordinated through Europol, which has resulted in a total of 11 further individuals being apprehended across Estonia, France, Italy, Latvia, Norway and Romania.

Andy Archibald, deputy director of the NCA’s National Cyber Crime Unit, said: “The illegal use of Remote Access Trojans is a significant cyber crime threat, demanding this kind of strong, coordinated response from international to local UK level. Suspected users of RATs are continuing to find that, despite having no physical contact or interaction with their victims, they can still be identified, tracked down and arrested by the NCA and its partners.

“This operation demonstrates once again that all of UK law enforcement is working to respond effectively to cyber crime, and together we will continue to collaboratively target those who use technology to misuse other people’s devices, steal their money, or unlawfully access confidential information.”

To help reduce the risk from malicious RATs, the NCA has urged people to avoid clicking unknown links, or files sent from unidentified or suspicious sources.

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