An 18-year-old has been arrested as part of a joint UK and FBI investigation into cyber-attacks on Sony PlayStation and Xbox systems last December.
He was arrested today in Southport, Merseyside on suspicion of unauthorised access to computer material and knowingly providing false information to law enforcement agencies in the US – also known as 'swatting'.
The operation was a joint effort between three UK cyber-crime units and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Electronic and digital services were seized by officers, the South East Regional Organised Crime Unit (Serocu) said.
Microsoft and Sony networks suffered outages on Christmas Day that, after an apparent denial-of-service, prevented millions of users logging on. A hacking group called Lizard Squad claimed responsibility for the attacks, which caused major service disruptions.
"We are still at the early stages of the investigation and there is still much work to be done,” said Craig Jones, head of the Cyber-Crime Unit at Serocu.
"We will continue to work closely with the FBI to identify those who commit offences and hold them to account.
"Cyber-crime is an issue which has no boundaries and affects people on a local, regional and global level."
According to Jones, swatting involves law enforcement forces in the US receiving hoax calls via Skype for a major incident in which Swat teams are dispatched.
"We are pursuing cyber criminals using the latest technology and working with businesses and academia to further develop specialist investigative capabilities to protect and reduce the risk to the public,” he added.
Peter Goodman, national policing lead for cyber security at the Association of Police Officers (Acpo) said that it was a “significant arrest”.
"This arrest demonstrates that we will pursue those who commit crime with the false perception they are protected within their own homes or hiding behind anonymous online personas,” he added.
The operation involved officers from Serocu and the North West Regional Crime Unit (Rocu), supported by the National Cyber Crime Unit (NCCU).