Over the summer, the secure email provider, ProtonMail, experienced several attacks against its network; luckily, with the help of Radware, F5 Networks, and its own infrastructure team, it was able to keep disruptions to a minimum. It turns out one of the key members of Apophis Squad, one of the groups attacking the firm, was George Duke-Cohan who was arrested by the National Crime Agency in the UK. The 19-year-old also caused the evacuation of 400 schools after issuing bomb threats, and the grounding of a United Airlines flight after he claimed his daughter was on board and that the flight had been hi-jacked.
Discussing the arrest, Andy Yen, Founder of ProtonMail, said:
“The security, reliability, and reputation of Proton services are our highest priority, and we take all attacks against us extremely seriously. As part of our commitment to security, we will actively pursue all those who try to harm ProtonMail and bring them to justice. To fulfill this commitment, we are willing to commit all necessary financial, legal, and technical resources.”
Aside from attacking ProtonMail, Duke-Cohan had also targetted law enforcement agencies around the world which sparked their involvement. ProtonMail assisted the agencies, within Swiss law, after they issued MLAT (Mutual Legal Assistance Treaties) requests to render assistance to the extent possible given ProtonMail’s encryption. The hacker’s identity was known since the start of August but the police didn’t immediately respond, its was forced to take action, however, when the man started issuing bomb threats to schools, most of which, resumed this week.
Topping off the statement, ProtonMail said that while it wants to give users privacy, security, and freedom of information, it will not protect individuals engaged in criminal activities and will also cooperate with law enforcement agencies within the framework of Swiss law. It also said that it has further ID’d others involved in attacks and that it is working to bring them to justice too.