The Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) took its website, www.SOCA.gov.UK, offline as of late Wednesday following a distributed denial-of-service (DDOS) attack.
We are not discussing what it may be linked to, if anything specific, at this point.
The attack comes just a few days after SOCA’s successful operation, executed with cooperation from the US FBI and other countries, which resulted in the shutdown of 36 carder websites that sold stolen credit card information.
A spokeperson for SOCA disclaimed any association between the DDoS attack and the cybercriminals affected by its recent shutdown of illegal carder sites. “We are not discussing what it may be linked to, if anything specific, at this point,” he said.
The SOCA spokesperson emphasized its DDoS response was motivated by concern for other organisations. “The fact is, we elected to take the site offline at ten o’clock last night,” he said. “The prime reason was to limit the impact of the DDoS on the other clients hosted by our service provider.”
At this time, SOCA is not projecting when its site will return to normal operations, noting only that it will be back up “when it is worthwhile and appropriate to do so.”
"Targeted attacks supported by high levels of resource have the potential to disrupt any operation," said Andrew Kellett, senior security analyst at London-based research firm Ovum. "What is surprising is that defence and intelligence levels have not been improved sufficiently since the last successful DDoS attack on SOCA in June 2011."
During that incident last June, SOCA took down its website briefly following a joint anti-government campaign by hacking groups Lulz Security (LulzSec) and Anonymous.
"Ovum research shows that spending on Web security over the next three years will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 8%, which is higher than the projections for most other mainstream security areas," Kellett said. "The high levels of additional spending are necessary to improve quality and safety of services, and to help to ensure that the type of attack suffered by SOCA can be dealt with without having to take the site down."