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Police arrest 14 members of hacking group Anonymous for cyber attack on PayPal

joshuaboy
joshuaboy Members Posts: 10,858 ✭✭✭✭✭
edited July 2011 in IllGaming
Fourteen people were arrested for allegedly mounting a cyber attack on the PayPal website after it suspended the accounts of WikiLeaks.


The cyber attacks on online payment service PayPal's website by the group called Anonymous followed the release by WikiLeaks in November of thousands of classified US State Department cables.


Anonymous is a loosely-organised group of hackers sympathetic to WikiLeaks. It has claimed responsibility for attacks against corporate and government websites worldwide.



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Stepping up the fight: FBI agents with search warrants take away items from a home on Long Island where a suspected member of the hacking group Anonymous lives



The group also claims credit for disrupting the websites of Visa and MasterCard in December when the credit card companies stopped processing donations to WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange.


A federal indictment unsealed in US District Court in San Jose, California, says Anonymous referred to the cyberattacks on PayPal as ‘Operation Avenge Assange’.


The 14 charged in the PayPal attack were arrested in Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, the District of Columbia, Florida, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Mexico and Ohio. They were aged between 20 and 42. The name and age of one of the 14 was withheld by the court.



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Shadowy figures: A member of the Anonymous at work with two laptops




The 20-year-old, Mercedes Renee Haefer, is a university student, and her lawyer, Stanley Cohen of New York, compared the case to the federal prosecution of former US defence analyst Daniel Ellsberg following his release in 1971 to The New York Times and other newspapers a Pentagon study of government decision-making about the Vietnam War.


Mr Cohen compared the acts allegedly committed by his client and the others to civil disobedience. ‘The people being arrested are not being accused of acts of violence,’ he said.


In addition to Haefer, the government said those indicted in San Jose were Christopher Cooper, 23, also known as ‘Anthrophobic’; Joshua Covelli, 26, aka ‘Absolem’ and ‘Toxic’; Keith Downey, 26; Donald Husband, 29, aka ‘Ananon’; Vincent Kershaw, 27, aka ‘Trivette’, ‘Triv’ and ‘Reaper’; Ethan Miles, 33; James Murphy, 36; Drew Phillips, 26, aka ‘Drew010’; Jeffrey Puglisi, 28, aka ‘Jeffer’, ‘Jefferp’ and ‘Ji’; Daniel Sullivan, 22; Tracy Valenzuela, 42; and Christopher Quang Vo, 22.





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Public face: Anonymous members have become known for wearing the Guy Fawkes masks on outings




The FBI had recently stepped up its pursuit of Anonymous and earlier raided three homes in New York in the hunt for suspected members of the group.


More than 10 officers stormed the home of Giordani Jordan in Baldwin on Long Island with a search warrant for computers.


Two other raids were carried out at addresses in Brooklyn and Long Island.


All the suspects are aged between their late teens and early 20s.


Fox News reported that Jordan’s computers had been identified as having been used in recent denial of service attacks - possibly against large companies like Visa.


At least one laptop and other equipment was taken from his suburban home during the 6am operation.


The second raid took place in a quiet street in Merrick on Long Island while the third was in Bushwick in Brooklyn.


Jordan’s systems have apparently been used in denial of service attacks, a common method of sabotaging a website by saturating it with external requests.


It is thought he lives with his parents and was home at the time.


An FBI source said the raids were part of an ‘ongoing investigation’ in which a ‘lot of players’ were involved.


‘It could help us identify other people of corroborate information we have received. The homes were raided due to possible links to denial of service attacks,’ the source said.


Anonymous, formed in 2003, has no leadership or hierarchy although a small number of individuals have been named as its ‘leaders’.


It has attacked the Arizona police department over its treatment of immigrants and has had a long running feud with the Church of Scientology over what is seen as suppression of information.


The group has also released a cache of emails from a former Bank of America employee which it claimed demonstrated questionable loan practices.


A splinter group calling itself LulzSec has carried out more malicious attacks and recently targeted British newspaper The Sun over the phone hacking row as it is own by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp.


Telecoms giant AT&T also came under attack and members of the group claimed credit for hacking into Sony’s Playstation network and stealing millions of user profiles.


Another target was the CIA and the official Brazilian government website, which LuzSec claims it brought down.


Police in London arrested the first alleged member of the group, 19-year-old Ryan Clearly before 15 more people aged between 15 and 28 were held around the world.


The FBI has already seized servers in Virginia, run by Swiss web hosting company DigitalOne, around the time Cleary was arrested - suggesting the net was already closing in on the group.

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