A 41-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of launching distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks against the websites of the Home Office and home secretary Theresa May in June.
Officers from the Metropolitan Police Service’s (MPS) Police Central e-Crime Unit (PceU), assisted by officers from the East Midlands Regional Hub, arrested the man on Tuesday on suspicion of assisting or encouraging crime contrary to the Serious Crime Act 2007.
The unnamed man, who was arrested from his home in Stoke-on-Trent, was taken into custody at a local police station for questioning before being bailed until mid-December.
In a statement, The Metropolitan Police said it has seized electronic equipment, including computers, telephones and media storage devices from the property as part of the ongoing investigation.
“The activity this morning demonstrates the commitment of the PCeU and our colleagues to combat cyber criminality anywhere within the UK and take action against those responsible,” said PceU detective inspector Jason Tunn. “Assisting and encouraging cyber crime is a serious matter and I would advise all persons to consider their actions and any possible future consequences prior to posting any material online."
In April, updates from Anonymous-affilated Twitter accounts suggested the denial of service attacks against UK government websites that month were a protest against Gary McKinnon, who was facing extradition at the time.
Last month, May blocked McKinnon’s extradition on the grounds of human rights. May told MPs that because McKinnon suffers from Asperger’s syndrome and is “seriously ill”, extradition would increase the risk of him committing suicide and would be incompatible with his human rights.
Speaking to the Telegraph in October, Foreign Secretary William Hague Hague said that government departments and businesses are regularly bombarded by attacks from hackers and foreign spies, and that not an hour goes by without a system in the UK being attacked.
At a security conference in Budapest last month, Hague announced that the government plans to establish a Centre for Global Cyber-Security Capacity Building to protect the UK from external cyber attacks and advise other countries on improving their security defences.