UK Police Arrest Two Over Anti-terrorist Hotline Prank Calls

U.K. police arrested two teenagers on Thursday evening for allegedly making hoax phone calls to a hotline set up to report suspicious terrorism-related activity.

The two males, ages 16 and 17, were arrested at an address in the West Midlands on suspicion of violating the Malicious Communications Act 1988 and the Computer Misuse Act 2006. Their names were not released.

On Tuesday, a group calling itself TeaMp0isoN posted on YouTube a recording of a phone call made to the police's Anti-Terrorist Hotline. A male who identified himself as 16-year-old "Robert West" is heard haranguing officers for about five minutes.

The Metropolitan Police Service said in a statement it was confident the group was not able to listen to confidential communications and that its communications systems had not been breached.

"We are satisfied that any recording would have been made via the receiving handset only and not from an attack on internal systems," the MPS statement said.

At one point during the call, the teenager asks a male officer if he'd ever heard of TeaMp0isoN, to which the officer replies: "I've heard about TeaMp0isoN, yeah. Correct me if I'm wrong you but do you hack into certain sites, that sort of thing?"

The call took a comic turn when the male's mixed American-British accent caused the officer to ask whether he lived in the U.K. "I don't brush my teeth. I like tea. I'm from the U.K.," he replied.

The male caller also claimed his brother was Ryan Cleary, an alleged Anonymous member arrested in the U.K. last June and facing five computer-related charges. Anonymous, a decentralized group of politically motivated hackers, has been quiet lately following the arrests of people whom police claim were some of its most skilled participants.

Eventually, a female officer terminated the call, warning that the FBI would be notified. Near the end of the call after the officers had hung up, someone is heard encouraging "TriCK" to call the hotline again.

Softpedia published what it claims is an interview with TriCK, in which TriCK said TeaMp0isoN used a script to make nonstop calls to the hotline for 24 hours. TriCK reportedly said the reason for the attack was to protest the extradition of people to the U.S. on unfounded terrorism accusations.

Send news tips and comments to jeremy_kirk@idg.com

Subscribe to the Security Watch Newsletter

Comments