Six teenagers were arrested by British police on suspicion of attacking websites, the country’s National Crime Agency (NCA) announced on Friday.
The teenagers were users of the hacking group Lizard Squad and used the Lizard Stresser tool, software that allowed them to pay to take websites offline for up to eight hours at a time, according to an NCA statement.
The tool works by using Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks, which flood web servers or websites with massive amounts of data, leaving them inaccessible to users.
Those arrested in the operation coordinated by NCA were all teenage boys aged from 15 to 18, while two other suspected users of Lizard Stresser were arrested earlier this year, the NCA said.
The suspects are thought to have maliciously deployed Lizard Stresser, having bought the tool using alternative payment services such as Bitcoin in a bid to remain anonymous, the NCA also said.
Organizations believed to have been targeted by the suspects include a leading national newspaper, a school, gaming companies, and a number of online retailers, according to the NCA.
Lizard Squad became a well-known hacking group last year after it claimed responsibility for taking down the PlayStation Network and Xbox Live. The group later launched the Lizard Stresser tool.
“By paying a comparatively small fee, tools like Lizard Stresser can cripple businesses financially and deprive people of access to important information and public services,” said Tony Adams, head of investigations at the NCA’s National Cyber Crime Unit.
Officers are also visiting some 50 addresses linked to individuals registered on the Lizard Stresser website, but who are not currently believed to have carried out attacks. A third of the individuals identified are under the age of 20, according to the NCA.
“One of our key priorities is to engage with those on the fringes of cyber criminality to help them understand the consequences of cyber crime, and how they can channel their abilities into productive and lucrative legitimate careers,” said Adams.