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US claims significant DDoS for hire takedown, but some’seized’ sites continue to load

U.S. authorities claim to have taken control of dozens of domains that led to some of the most prominent global distributed denial-of-service sites for hire. A number of the taken sites are still functional.

On Wednesday, the U.S. Department of Justice issued a press statement announcing the seizure of 48 domains linked to some of the most widely used DDoS booter platforms in the world. These services, which are often touted as locations for bandwidth stress-testing networks, enable unskilled users to launch DDoS assaults that overload websites and networks to the point where they go down.

Operation PowerOFF was a collaborative effort between the National Crime Agency in the United Kingdom, the police in the Netherlands, and Europol.

The Department of Justice claims these booter sites orchestrated assaults against a wide variety of U.S. and international targets, including universities, government entities, and gaming platforms. According to Europol, one of the confiscated domains was used in almost 30 million assaults.

At the time of writing, at least eight of the sites reportedly taken by U.S. prosecutors continue to load as usual, despite the fact that several of the sites originally targeted by the operation now show a notice claiming that they have been seized by the FBI. Why these pages keep loading is a mystery.

Seven suspects who reportedly ran the DDoS booter services were arrested as part of Operation PowerOff. Six people, including John M. Dobbs, Jeremiah Sam Evans, Angel Manuel Colon Jr., Shamar Shattock, Cory Anthony Palmer, and Joshua Laing, have been charged with criminal offences in the United States.

The DDoS-for-hire service that Laing supposedly operates is still live as of this writing.

The National Crime Agency of the United Kingdom also reported the arrest of an 18-year-old male in Devon on suspicion of being the administrator of one of the confiscated websites. The NCA noted that law enforcement has collected consumer information from all known DDoS booter sites.

The National Crime Agency has issued a warning, saying that “Admins and users located in the UK will be visited by the NCA or police in the coming months.”