The UK National Crime Agency has arrested 57 people on a laundry list of cyber offences as a part of a nationwide operation.
The 'Strike Week' campaign involved 25 separate operations carried out between 2 and 6 March.
The operations involved the National Crime Agency's (NCA) National Cyber Crime Unit, the Metropolitan Police and the Regional Organised Crime Unit as well as several local forces around the UK.
The 57 arrested people are believed to have carried out crimes including malware creation, mass data theft, mounting distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks, phishing and "various other" offences under the Computer Misuse Act.
Key arrests include a 21-year-old male suspected of having mounted operations as a part of the ‘D33Ds Company' hacking group. The group stole and published online over 400,000 email addresses and passwords from Yahoo in 2012.
Another high-profile suspect is a 23-year-old male believed to have infiltrated the US Department of Defence in June 2014.
He is believed to have stolen information from the Enhanced Mobile Satellite Services global communication system used by the department to communicate with employees internationally.
The arrests also include a 22-year-old believed to have been running a malware creation and distribution network, a 20-year-old believed to be behind a £15,000 phishing attack, and 16-year-old suspected of targeting over 350 websites with DDoS attacks.
Andy Archibald, deputy director of the National Cyber Crime Unit, described the arrests as a victory in the agency's war on cybercrime and promised further arrests in the very near future.
"We are continuously working to track down and apprehend those seeking to use computers for criminal ends, and to disrupt the technical networks and infrastructures supporting international cybercrime," he said.
The NCA said that it had issued several cease and desist orders to groups and individuals known to have recently purchased remote access tools.
The arrests come during an ongoing push by international law enforcement to better coordinate the fight against cybercrime.
US law enforcement began offering a $3m reward in February for information leading to the arrest and/or conviction of Russian Evgeniy Mikhailovich Bogachev for cyber offences using the Zeus malware.
Law enforcement agencies across the globe, including the NCA, temporarily shut down the original Gameover Zeus botnet, which was estimated to have enslaved between 500,000 and a million computers at its peak in June 2014.
The NCA also mounted a new initiative to help small and medium enterprises, hosting companies and ISPs identify threats in their network.
The initiative saw 10 Regional Organised Crime Units, Police Scotland and Police Service of Northern Ireland visit 60 businesses across the UK and identify a staggering 5,531 compromises on servers.
Improving SME security has been an ongoing challenge for government and law enforcement.
Industry commentators have warned that initiatives like the UK Cyber Security Information Sharing Partnership are failing to support small firms.
Deputy chief constable Peter Goodman, national policing lead for cybercrime, said that supporting SMEs is a key challenge as many firms are just one cyber attack away from disaster.
"Small and medium sized businesses can be bankrupted by a cyber attack, with owners and staff losing their jobs," he said.
"Please make it harder for these criminals to get away with it by taking simple steps to stay secure online."
The cyber security industry has been positive about the 'Strike Week' operation. Malcolm Marshall, global leader of KPMG's cyber security practice, said that the strike will send ripples through the cybercrime community.
"One of the reasons that cybercrime has become so widespread is that the chances of getting caught are close to zero, so it's good news that the NCA's teeth are biting," he said.
Webroot threat researcher Roy Tobin agreed, but added that businesses should not be lulled into a false sense of security as there will always be fresh recruits to take the place of those who have been arrested.
"Everybody who works in the security industry will welcome this, but it's vital that people and organisations continue to be vigilant when online, and ensure adequate protection for all their devices, to prevent an attack in the first place," he said.
The researchers' comments follow warnings that security levels are woefully inadequate at most companies. FireEye reported in February that hackers spend an average of 205 days in victims' systems.
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