Friday, 30 November 2007 - 11:54am |
National News

Waikato Police investigate cyber-crime

2 min read

Working as part of an international investigation into cyber-crime Waikato Police searched an address in the district this week.

Other searches took place in Northland and Canterbury.

Waikato Crime Services Manager, Detective Inspector Peter Devoy, said a man, known by his cyber ID as 'AKILL', is being interviewed as part of an investigation involving the NZ Police, FBI and Dutch authorities.

It is alleged 'AKILL' was a co-conspirator in botnet related activity that caused a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack at a Philadelphia university in February 2006.

DDoS attacks occur when a large number of transactions are sent to a computer or server thus overloading the system and denying service to normal users.

'Botnet' is jargon for a collection of computers infected with malware to act as robots or 'bots'. A Botnet allows a large number of computers to be controlled covertly by an offender.

"The term is usually used to refer to a collection of compromised computers running programs and controlled remotely," said Mr Devoy.

"These programmes are often referred to as worms, Trojans and backdoor viruses".

The 2006 DDoS attack was reported to the Philadelphia office of the FBI who launched an investigation.

This led the FBI to a US national, who, using unauthorized account access upgraded the botnet from the university server for his New Zealand based co-conspirator.

The pair used malware files to infect and control about 50,000 computers causing the server to crash, which denied computer access to the university's 4000 students, staff and faculty members.

Malware is a collective term for computer programs such as viruses, adware and spyware, installed remotely and covertly over the internet without the computer owner's knowledge.

Sitting in New Zealand 'AKILL' is alleged to have designed a unique virus that utilized encryption and was undetectable by anti-virus software.

"This programme was viewed by the FBI as being very sophisticated malware," said Mr Devoy.

But it's not just in the US where 'AKILL' has been busy.

He is also alleged to head an elite botnet group called the 'A-Team' comprised of people from the United States and abroad.

In a separate investigation with the Dutch Independent Post and Telecommunications Authority, Police established 'AKILL' was involved with an adware scheme alleged to have infected 1.3 million computers.

Mr Devoy said these investigations were a stark reminder of the global nature of cyber-crime and the need to adapt to fight this type of offending.

"This is a relatively new type of crime that will only become more evident as time goes by and we've had to adapt to meet the new challenge.


For more information:

Detective Inspector Peter Devoy

Ph: 07 858 6200