September 8, 2018 at
A member of the Apophis Squad, DDoS-for-hire hacking group, recently admitted to making bomb threats against thousands of different schools. The individual in question, George Duke-Cohan, is a 19-year-old from Britain. He was known to use several aliases in his online endeavors, including 7R1D3N7, optcz1, and DoubleParalla.
After being accused of this, and making numerous bomb threats, Duke-Cohan decided to plead guilty earlier this week.
DDoS attacker identified and arrested
Duke-Cohan was arrested on August 31 by the National Crime Agency’s officers. He was among the most vocal members of Apophis Squad, which has launched numerous DDoS attacks in 2018. Their most notable attacks were the ones on Protonmail.com and KrebsOnScurity.
Interestingly enough, all of the members of the Squad were actually Protonmail’s active users. Despite this, they launch numerous attacks on the site’s servers and have continued to taunt the company. The attack on Protonmail happened back in June, seemingly on a whim. Eventually, Duke-Cohan was identified with help of a ‘trusted source’, and the company quickly notified the police.
The police decided not to move on this information immediately, according to Protonmail. While they likely have their reasons for this, the delay meant that the company will remain harassed by the hackers through most of August.
In the meanwhile, Apophis Squad continued with their attacks and even bragged about how they were responsible for flight UAL 949 having to be grounded. The NCA confirmed that the flight had been grounded due to reports of it being hijacked by gunmen with a bomb. After being forced to land in San Francisco, the plain was inspected in a quarantined area.
Lizard Squad as a role model
It would seem that the hacking group took to modeling itself after Lizard Squad. This is another group of hackers who ran numerous DDoS attacks for paying customers and even called in fake bomb threats. Most of this group’s members were eventually identified and arrested, after which they were charged with numerous cybercrimes.
While Apophis Squad managed to do a lot of damage in their attempt to be a new Lizard Squad, they are not the only such group around. There are numerous DDoS-for-hire groups around, and most of them still get identified and charged for their crimes eventually. The problem is that this is becoming quite a trend, one which the authorities have been struggling with for a while now.
As for Apophis Squad, Protonmail believes that the additional charges against the group’s members are on their way. The company claims to be in a possession of identities of numerous others responsible for attacks on their website. At the moment, they are working with the relevant authorities at confirming the involvement of these individuals and arresting them as well.