UK police website crashes twice courtesy of DDoS attack

The Great Manchester Police website in the UK was subject to multiple attacks yesterday (2nd September), causing it to crash.

In an official statement, it said that its website, known as the Force, had been taken down twice in what is now thought to be a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack.

It reported that initial checks carried out found nothing “untoward” and it managed to bring the system back online again fairly swiftly.

However, its assessment proved to be flawed, as no sooner had they got the website back up, it was once again down.

Following the second incident, an individual on Twitter, going by the moniker Prince, tweeted Greater Manchester Police saying: “[sic] I think these problems responsible was me :)”

The individual, who claimed to be from Lithuania, went on to threaten the police force: ‘Disclose out there that I was the one who knocked your site or I will not stop here.”

This was in direct response to an earlier tweet sent by Greater Manchester Police, in which it informed its followers that its website was experiencing “technical difficulties”.

“We are treating this as a denial of service attack, which is a malicious attempt to disrupt services,” commented deputy chief constable Ian Hopkins of Greater Manchester Police.

“I want to reassure people that the server for the website is not connected to any other Force system and that the information contained on the website is all public information.

“We apologise for any inconvenience this may have caused to members of the public and we are working to resolve this issue as quickly as possible.”

Late last month, the UK’s National Crime Agency was hit by a DDoS attack, in what is thought to be a direct response to the agency’s announcement last month that it had arrested six people as part of Operation Vivarium.

These individuals are thought to have been using a tool known as Lizard Stresser, which basically allows users to pay to take websites down for up to eight hours at a time.

Tony Adams, head of investigations at the NCA’s National Cyber Crime Unit, said at the time: “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.

“This multi-agency operation illustrates the commitment of the NCA and its partners to pursuing people who think they can criminally disrupt important public services or legitimate businesses.”

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