British police crack down on hackers

British police have detained 57 suspects in a week-long crackdown on cyber crime, the government said on Friday.

The arrests were made in 25 police operations across the country, for offences including data theft from government and company networks, online fraud, denial-of-service attacks, and development of computer viruses and malware.

Among those detained was a 21-year-old man accused of joining a group of hackers who stole 400,000 Yahoo email addresses and passwords and published them online in 2012, the National Crime Agency said.

West Midlands police arrested a 23-year old man on Wednesday charged with hacking into the US defence department’s communications system in June, obtaining the names and contact information of 800 people and the codes of 34,400 mobile phones and other devices.

“We are transforming our response to cyber crime,” said Peter Goodman, who heads police operations against online crime.

“We now have an effective national cyber crime unit and regional units tackling this crime, who have worked together this week to target those who are using the internet to steal, commit fraud or impact on organisations’ ability to do their business,” Goodman said.

“These arrests around the country this week are a result of the essential partnership activity with law enforcement, industry and government that is at the heart of fighting cyber crime,” said Andy Archibald, deputy director of the agency’s National Cyber Crime Unit.

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British police crack down on hackers