Youth arrested over Call of Duty DDoS attack

Filed Under: Denial of Service, Law & order, Malware

Call of DutyIt feels like you can't turn your back for a second without another story about distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks popping up.

This one, however, has nothing to do with WikiLeaks and instead involves a co-ordinated cyber attack against a website running the popular "Call of Duty" video game.

According to news reports, a 17-year-old British teenager was arrested early on Thursday morning by computer crime police in the Beswick area of Manchester under suspicion of using malware to make the "Call of Duty" website unreachable by many online gamers.

A malicious program called "Phenom Booter" is said to have been offered for sale online, giving purchasers the ability to score more points and stop other gamers from playing.

Activision, the publisher of "Call of Duty" contacted police in September when they noticed the impact on their servers.

The youth, who has not been named, is being charged with offences under the Computer Misuse Act.

You may think that disrupting an online game server is a victimless crime, even for a game as popular as "Call of Duty", but don't forget that video gaming is a huge business - and the impact on publishers if their games are disrupted by malicious hackers can be significant.

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11 Responses to Youth arrested over Call of Duty DDoS attack

  1. Guest · 1761 days ago

    And lets not forget!, this same 15 year old hacker will be one day hired by the same corporation who released Call-of-Duty as their Online Security Advisor.

    • Guess · 1759 days ago

      He's not a hacker! He's a script kiddie if anything. Real hackers would not do a DOS attack, they would actually gain administrative access to the server.

      • Anonymous · 488 days ago

        I can its called using LocalServer Method UmDUH lol

  2. James · 1756 days ago

    Meh, this seems a little ridiculous to me. Ban him from the game - don't send him to jail. Does anyone really believe that something as small as this will impact the sales of the most widely purchased game of all time? It's not like anyone pays to play it online - they only pay for the disc.

    Well, unless you're one of those unfortunate souls who thought the Xbox was a good idea.

  3. Really? · 1755 days ago


    He still broke the law. Plain and simple. I suppose, however, that people who bought the game for its mutiplayer aspect (aka- the VAST majority), don't count for anything.

    Oh, and for your x-box statement... you know that in the Q4 results, it outsold all of its competition, right? Poor boy.

    • James · 1753 days ago

      Of course I know that. Just one more factor affirming that
      the vast majority of my countrymen are indeed as poorly educated as
      studies show.

  4. Spiritwalker · 1751 days ago

    Initiating a DDOS attack on a gaming server isn't a victimless crime or a laugh .... it is very often the case that some unfortunate has to sort it out. This is usually a server admin - an unpaid, unthanked and unappreciated person who has agreed to run/administer the game server for the good of others.

    To be honest though, after admining servers for years I often found that the most likely candidates for attempting DDOS attacks were the type of player who either got caught cheating (sorry guys but to dispel myth anti-cheat programs do work if properly set-up) or "gobby" little idiots who think they have the right to swear at and insult other server users.
    If a little trip to the police station will help adjust their attitude then I'm all for it.

    • James · 1751 days ago

      I agree with most of what you said - however I think sending him to jail is more than a little extreme. Does it suck that he caused trouble for whomever had to clean up the mess? Certainly. Was it childish? Absolutely. Does he deserve jail time? Absolutely not.

      A fine I could see. I still wouldn't like it, but it's a fair compromise.

      I just don't see how jail time for upsetting a game is warranted. Think of the precedent. What comes next?

      • .V. · 1731 days ago

        Agreed. Using someone else's program to DDoS a game server is nothing more than a 12 year old skid move, and doesn't deserve jail time... If anything, a fine, a smack on the wrist. Maybe ground the brat, take his cell phone. Being someone involved in many shady communities including where the original Phenom Booter was released, I can confidently say that these idiots don't know what they are doing. They aren't super hackers off some hollywood production, they're 12 year olds using their parents' paypal account to buy access to advanced processes.

        Lets not give the 12 year old skid too much credit here...

  5. cjn72 · 1681 days ago

    Todays 17yo online gaming DDoS attacker will be tomorrows major threat to internet security if not punished now. But jail time may not be the way to go neither. Depending on the childs overall personality, he may also be a great asset if guided and sent in the right direction. He obviously has the intelligence.

    • Kygon · 1490 days ago

      DDoS attacks don't require the slightest bit of knowledge, this guy is 17 and doing DDos attacks, there are 10 year olds on the internet that do that. DDoS attacks are very temporary, and are sort of illegal (Hard to explain really, usually you end getting sued and being arrested is uncommon), and usually not traceable. A real hacker could shut down the service entirely.

      Under these prerequisites DDoS attacks are considered illegal.
      Unauthorised Impairement" of any system, communication or service. It does not need to say ddos, because the term unauthorised impairement would be declared else where to say the denial, overload etc of a partiular service, server etc.

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About the author

Graham Cluley runs his own award-winning computer security blog at, and is a veteran of the anti-virus industry having worked for a number of security companies since the early 1990s. Now an independent security analyst, he regularly makes media appearances and gives computer security presentations. Follow him on Twitter at @gcluley