Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Internet hacking group busted: FBI files major cyber crimes charges on 16 Anonymous group members

U.S. authorities today arrested 16 people on charges they were involved in major cyber attacks including attacks on eBay's PayPal website as retribution for dropping WikiLeaks' donation account.

The FBI arrests were made as part of a wide-ranging investigation of the Internet vigilante hacking group Anonymous, both the FBI and Department of Justice said, and followed claims by the group that it broke into Apple servers and launched attacks last year that shut down sites of MasterCard and Visa.

Anonymous, which law enforcement authorities believe is mostly made up of hackers believed to be in their teens and early 20s, also has released scores of private e-mails and other data from an Arizona police website. Those named in the indictment Today ranged in age from 20 to 42. The DOJ noted that "one individual’s name has been withheld by the court," possibly because he or she is a minor.The 20-year-old, Mercedes Renee Haefer, is a university student, and has a lawyer, Stanley L. Cohen of New York.

Fourteen arrests were made in Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, the District of Columbia, Florida, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Mexico and Ohio, according to a press release from the Department of Justice. The FBI executed more than 35 search warrants. An indictment charging those arrested was unsealed Tuesday in the Northern District of California in San Jose.

In June, the Hacker group LulzSec said it was done and was “sailing off into the horizon.” The group's disbandment came unexpectedly, and could have been a sign of nerves in the face of law enforcement investigations like the one that lead to today’s arrests. It would come as no surprise to me if some of the members were in both groups.

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