A Dutch citizen arrested in northeast Spain on suspicion of launching the biggest cyber attack in Internet history operated from a bunker and had a van capable of hacking into networks anywhere in the country, officials said Sunday.
The suspect traveled in Spain using his van “as a mobile computing office, equipped with various antennas to scan frequencies,” an Interior Ministry statement said.
Agents arrested him Thursday in the city of Granollers, 22 miles north of Barcelona, complying with a European arrest warrant issued by Dutch officials.
He faces charges of attacking the Swiss-British anti-spam watchdog group Spamhaus whose main task is to halt ads for counterfeit Viagra and bogus weight-loss pills reaching the world’s inboxes.
The statement said officers uncovered the computer hacker’s bunker, “from where he even did interviews with different international media.”
The 35-year-old, identified only by his initials, S.K., listed his birthplace as the western Dutch city of Alkmaar.
The statement said the suspect called himself a diplomat belonging to the “Telecommunications and Foreign Affairs Ministry of the Republic of Cyberbunker.”
Dutch authorities alerted Spanish police in March of large denial-of-service attacks being launched from Spain that were affecting Internet servers in the Netherlands, United Kingdom and the U.S. These attacks culminated with a major onslaught on Spamhaus.
The Netherlands National Prosecution Office described them as “unprecedentedly serious attacks on the nonprofit organization Spamhaus.”
The largest assault was at 300 billion bits per second, according to San Francisco-based CloudFlare Inc., which Spamhaus enlisted to help it weather the attack.
Denial-of-service attacks overwhelm a server with traffic, jamming it with incoming messages. Security experts measure the attacks in bits of data per second. Recent cyber attacks — such as the ones that caused persistent outages at U.S. banking sites late last year — have tended to peak at 100 billion bits per second, one third the size of that experienced by Spamhaus.
Netherlands, German, British and U.S. police forces took part in the investigation leading to the arrest, Spain officials said.
The suspect will end up extradited from Spain to face charges in the Netherlands.