Sunday, April 17, 2011

New arrest over Anonymous' pro-WikiLeaks attacks

Saturday 16 April 2011

New arrest over Anonymous' pro-WikiLeaks attacks

Police have made a sixth arrest in their investigation of Anonymous, the online activist collective that launched a series of cyber attacks on major firms it saw as anti-WikiLeaks.

The 'Anonymous' hackers behind WikiLeaks defence

Anonymous is battling attempts to unmask its leaders Photo: GETTY IMAGES

7:00AM BST 15 Apr 2011

The new suspect, a 22-year-old man from Cleveland, was questioned by specialist computer crime detectives at a local police station on Wednesday last week. He was bailed until 26 May pending further enquiries.

The five original suspects - three teenage boys and two men - have also all been bailed again in the last 48 hours, to reappear at police stations in June.

They were arrested at addresses in the West Midlands, Northamptonshire, Hertfordshire, Surrey and London in coordinated dawn operations on 27 January.

They are suspected of involvement in cyber attacks on the websites of Amazon, Bank of America, Mastercard, PayPal and Visa in December. Deliberately causing such disruption is an offence under the Computer Misuse Act and carries a sentence of up to 10 years' imprisonment.

The firms were targeted after they cut off services to WikiLeaks, amid controversy over its release of classified US diplomatic cables.

Anonymous saw the moves as an affront to free speech online, and in chatrooms planned Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks in revenge.

Members downloaded a specially-developed piece of software - dubbed the Low Orbit Ion Cannon - to participate in "Operation Avenge Assange". The software was designed to effectively shut down the websites by bombarding their servers with requests for data.

But the impact was limited: while Amazon’s heavy duty infrastructure withstood Anonymous’ attack, the Mastercard and Visa websites were temporarily disrupted. Yet credit card payment systems themselves were mostly unaffected.

Since the attacks international law enforcement agencies have been cooperating on an investigation that has also led to the arrest of alleged Anonymous members in France, the Netherlands, and the US.

The collective had already caught the attention of British authorities before its WikiLeaks-related attacks, however.

Scotland Yard's Police Central e-Crime Unit began inquiries after similar DDoS attacks by Anonymous in September, on organisations connected to the entertainment industry. Its targets included the BPI and ACS:Law, a London-based law firm that had controversially accused thousands of internet users of copyright piracy.

Anonymous, which emerged more than three years ago from the anarchic web forum, is also battling other attempts to unmask its members.

In February it hacked into HBGary Federal, a government computer security contractor that claimed to have identified its leaders. The firm's chief executive was forced to step down after the hackers stole his emails and published them online.

And recently a group claiming to be made up of disgruntled former Anonymous members has published a dossier its says contains the true identities of senior figures. Several are listed as living in Britain.

Copyright of Telegraph Media Group Limited 2011

Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218.  Ph: 410-366-1637; Email: mobuszewski [at]


"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs


No comments: