Cracking a Cyber Attack On Sony Sees Bedfordshire Police Win At World Class Policing Awards

Bedfordshire Police's Eastern Region Special Operations Unit (ERSOU) won a prestigious award for their work on Operation Polarity, an investigation into cracking a cyber-attack on Sony.

The force beat off competition from 54 finalists from across the world, to win the award at the new event, on Thursday, November 14.

Deputy Chief Constable Trevor Rodenhurst and Op Polarity winners

Deputy Chief Constable Trevor Rodenhurst and Op Polarity winners

The awards celebrated and acknowledged the best in all aspects of policing work from across the world.

The team from Bedfordshire Police worked with the National Crime Agency, the FBI and the CPS during the Operation Polarity investigation, sparked when Sony and its PlayStation network suffered outages during the cyber-attack in 2014.

The cybercrime tool unearthed as part of the case was revealed to have over 100,000 users and was responsible for 1.7million denial of service attacks worldwide.

The team also discovered the PayPal accounts linked to the offender with an estimated $400,000 of laundered proceeds.

No operations on this level had ever been attempted before and cybercrime investigation was still in its infancy when the attack occurred.

The team had to deal with an enormous amount of seized data equating to 10 TB (around 50 million pages of A4) and ERSOU led on the work to get this data into a format that would meet Crown Prosecution disclosure requirements.

ERSOU’s work was so successful that the offender involved pleaded guilty to all charges.

The systems and processes developed have now been adopted and form part of the NCAs intelligence development for national and international policing in how to deal with big data sets

concerning cybercrime tools.

Judges commented that this was a “really impressive example of using new technologies to identify the offender - in collaboration with other agencies.”

Deputy Chief Constable Trevor Rodenhurst from Bedfordshire Police, the lead force for the Eastern Region Specialist Operation Unit said: “It was a pleasure to attend the first World Class Policing Awards, and I am extremely proud of the work that went into the investigation that has resulted in this award.

“The awards evening has shown that there is incredible work going on all over the world to protect members of the public and continue to fight crime.

“I would like to thank everyone who was part of the Op Polarity investigation for their hard work during the investigation.”

Assistant Chief Constable Dan Vajzovic, lead for the Eastern Region Specialist Operations Unit said: “This is an incredible award to receive for Operation Polarity, this was a long and intense investigation with a great result.

"I am so proud to lead ERSOU, and this award shows the world class work of our officers.”

A spokesman for the Judges said: “This nomination scored particularly highly for its approach, creation of new tools and methodology for investigation; establishing a national expert unit; its work with the CPS on disclosure and international collaboration with the FBI.

"Particularly impressive was the rehabilitative approach towards the offender. Outstanding police work… world class, leading edge stuff.”

Bedfordshire Police was also nominated for a further three operations; Operation Lattice, Operation Key and Operation Validate.

The World Class Policing Awards are sponsored by Accenture, they were presented by experienced broadcaster Jeremy Vine.