LONDON — British police investigating a series of computer hacking attacks on international companies and intelligence agencies said on Tuesday they had arrested a 19-year-old man in eastern England.
London's Metropolitan Police, working with America's FBI, said they had arrested the teenager in the town of Wickford, close to the British capital, on suspicion of computer misuse and fraud offences.
He is being investigated in connection with an attack on a website run by the British police Serious Organised Crime Agency, which targets organised crime in Britain and overseas, police said.
His computer is being checked for other possible attacks including against Japanese electronics company Sony Corp .
"The arrest follows an investigation into network intrusions and distributed denial of service attacks against a number of international business and intelligence agencies by what is believed to be the same hacking group," the London force said.
It said forensic officers were now examining "a significant amount of material" following searches at the home where the arrest took place.
The man is being held at a central London police station.
Hackers have carried out a series of attacks on international firms and organizations in recent weeks, including the International Monetary Fund, Lockheed Martin Corp., Citigroup Inc., Google, and Michaels Stores.
The loosely organised hacker group Lulz Security has claimed hacks into websites owned by Sony as well as the U.S. Public Broadcasting Service and Fox.com. Fox is a unit of News Corp .
The Serious Organised Crime Agency's website, which is used purely for public information, went down for a short time on Monday before being brought back up. Like many others, it probably was a denial-of-service attack in which Lulz hackers bombarded the site with so many messages that it went offline.
Hackers would not have had access to confidential data or information about ongoing operations, an agency spokesman said.
Lulz has sought to punish Sony for failing to secure data and released the data of its customers, exposing them to potential identity theft.
The group also has hacked into a U.S. Senate server and claimed responsibility for temporarily knocking offline the CIA's public website.
© 2016 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.