Six teenagers have been arrested on suspicion of launching cyber attacks using a service created by a notorious hacking group which previously targeted Xbox and PlayStation networks.
The male suspects, who are aged between 15 and 18, were held during an operation targeting alleged users of a tool known as Lizard Stresser.
It works by launching distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks, in which web servers or websites are flooded with massive amounts of data, leaving them inaccessible to visitors.
This week a number of warrants were executed and an 18-year-old from Milton Keynes was interviewed under caution.
Those arrested were an 18-year-old from Huddersfield, an 18-year-old from Manchester, a 16-year-old from
Northampton and a 15-year-old from Stockport.
Two other suspects, both 17, were arrested earlier this year. One is from Cardiff while the other is from Northolt, north-west London.
ALl six have been bailed.
Lizard Stresser is seen as a “DDos for hire” facility which gained notoriety among the hacking community after the group known as Lizard Squad claimed to have knocked Sony PlayStation and Xbox gaming services offline last Christmas.
None of those arrested in the latest police activity are accused of involvement in those incidents, nor are they believed to be members of Lizard Squad.
The National Crime Agency (NCA) said they are suspected of maliciously deploying Lizard Stresser having bought it using alternative payment services such as Bitcoin in an attempt to remain anonymous.
Organisations believed to have been targeted by the suspects include a national newspaper, a school, gaming companies and a number of online retailers.
They have not been named and it has not been confirmed whether the attempted DDoS attacks were successful.