UK organized crime unit arrests man in connection with Playstation and Xbox disruptions

LONDON – Authorities in Britain have arrested an 18-year-old man accused of computer hacking offences related to days of disruption on Sony’s PlayStation Network and Microsoft’s Xbox Live services last year.

Police said Friday he was also arrested in connection with false threats in the United States — a practice known as “swatting,” or providing false information suggesting that a threat exists so that police respond with SWAT teams. Authorities declined to say where in the United States the alleged offence occurred.

Craig Jones, head of the police cybercrime unit that handled the arrest, the “swatting” allegation involves “law enforcement forces in the United States receiving hoax calls via Skype for a major incident in which SWAT teams were dispatched.”

The man, who was not identified, was arrested on suspicion of unauthorized access to computer material and threats to kill. Police seized a variety of electronic and digital devices at the suspect’s home for further investigation by specialty units.

The arrests came as Prime Minister David Cameron was in Washington to meet with President Barack Obama to discuss cyber threats and other issues.

Britain’s South East Organized Crime Unit says it worked with the FBI in the investigation into the alleged activities of the man from Southport, a seaside town in northwest England near Liverpool.