Police arrest man suspected of building million-router German botnet

German prosecutors asked British police to make the arrest under a European Arrest Warrant

Last year, someone turned a German internet service provider into a million-router botnet. German police think they will soon have the culprit.

The U.K.'s National Crime Agency (NCA) made an arrest on Wednesday in connection with the November 2016 hack on Deutsche Telekom. The agency said it arrested a 29-year-old man at Luton airport, acting on a European Arrest Warrant issued by the public prosecutor's office in Cologne, Germany.

The German Federal Criminal Police Office (Bundeskriminalamt, or BKA), which led the investigation, said it had worked with British law enforcement officials to arrest the man, a Briton.

The man is accused of attempted computer abuse, the BKA said, and is suspected of attacking home routers connected to Deutsche Telekom's network, depriving over 1 million of its customers of their internet access in an incident last November.

The goal of that attack, the BKA said, was to turn the routers into a giant botnet, or network of controlled devices, for use in other cyberattacks, but the main effect was to interfere with internet access and telephone service on the affected devices.

The BKA became involved in the case because the attack was considered to have targeted critical communication infrastructure in Germany, and was helped in its investigation by the German Federal Office for Information Security (Bundesamt für Sicherheit, or BSI) and by Deutsche Telekom. Law enforcement officials in the U.K. also became involved, as did officials in Cyprus, BKA said, for reasons that neither the German nor U.K. police explained.

The accused will face an extradition hearing on Friday or Monday, the NCA said. If extradited to Germany, he could face charges there with a maximum penalty of 10 years.

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