Israel Police revealed Tuesday that they had arrested two suspects accused of carrying out, for clients, cyberattacks all over the world that caused millions of dollars in damages while netting the hackers $613,000.
The police cyber unit led an operation over the past year and a half, joined by investigators and intelligence officials from the US, England, the Netherlands and Sweden as part of the Europol organization. The collaboration also led to arrests of suspects abroad, police said.
State prosecutors were expected Tuesday to file indictments in a closed session at the Kfar Saba Magistrate’s Court against the two suspects, both 19 and from the central Sharon region, for setting up and operating “a criminal initiative unprecedented in its scope to carry out cyberattacks,” police said.
The investigation uncovered criminal actions by a number of Israeli suspects who set up and operated a website that, for a fee, would carry out distributed denial of service attacks — internet assaults that overwhelm targeted servers with artificial traffic, causing them to stop working and crash.
“As a result of these activities millions of dollars’ worth of economic damage was caused to various organizations around the world,” police said.
The police undercover unit began an operation in January 2016 during the course of which suspicions rose against a number of Israeli citizens, some of them minors, who were involved in setting up and operating a website called “vdos-s.com.”
Services were offered via internet ads, on social media, and various professional forums. Clients who signed up with the service were able to choose between a number of “attack packages” that were categorized according to the length of the attack, measured in seconds, and the volume of the attack measured in gigabytes per second, the statement said.
Investigators were able to establish a connection between a number of suspects who were involved in setting up the website and others from abroad who contacted them via online hacker communities in order to carry out attacks. The sundry hackers used a method for their attacks that was developed and constantly updated by the Israeli suspects, police noted.
Straw companies registered in England were used to handle payments, which were made in virtual currencies to obfuscate the connection between the suspects, the website and the financial profits, police added.
“From their extensive activities during the period they acted together, according to suspicions, they pocketed $613,000 in return for cyberattacks they carried out around the world,” cops said.
The pair also offered “technical support” for their clients provided by other hackers across the globe, who in return were able to use the site’s attack services for free.
During the course of the investigation some NIS 600,000 ($166,000) was seized in the suspects’ bank accounts, and the state was set to request that it be forfeited.