A 41-year-old man has been arrested in connection with attacks on the websites of Theresa May and the Home Office, which were believed to have been carried out by members of the “hacktivist” group Anonymous.
The Stoke-on-Trent man is accused of assisting or encouraging a distributed denial of service attack on the sites, which are designed to block access by flooding the sites with traffic. Police said computers, telephones and electronic storage devices were taken from a house by officers.
The man, who has not been named, was arrested on suspicion of assisting or encouraging crime contrary to the Serious Crime Act 2007. He was taken to a local police station and bailed to return in mid-December, pending further inquiries.
Detective Inspector Jason Tunn, from the Metropolitan Police’s eCrime Unit (PCeU), said: “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. 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 this year, people claiming to be members of the hacking group Anonymous claimed to have launched a co-ordinated attack on four websites associated with the British Government in protest at extraditions of British citizens to face trials in America, and plans to allow security services to monitor internet use and phone calls.
During those attacks, access to the Prime Minister’s site, the Home Office website and the Ministry of Justice website were successfully disrupted. But the personal site of Home Secretary Theresa May remained largely active. In a separate attack, American hacktivists linked to the group targeted the website of the US House of Representatives but failed to prevent access.