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Thirteen Members of Anonymous Indicted for DDoS Attacks
On Thursday, federal prosecutors brought criminal charges against 13 alleged members of the hacker and Internet activist group Anonymous for their role in cyberattacks in the Anonymous conducted Operation Payback.
The federal grand jury indictment released on Thursday in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia mention that the defendants and other members of the Anonymous group had initiated cyber attacks against government offices, trade associations, law firms, financial institutions and individuals to retaliate against the discontinuation of The Pirate Bay website. The action was also in retaliation of actions taken by government and non government entities against WikiLeaks, the whistleblower organization.
According to court documents, Operation Payback targeted individuals and organizations that had crippled the whistleblower organization WikiLeaks by their criticism, non co-operation or refusal to process payments and donations to WikiLeaks, thus financially crippling their activities.
Targets of Operation Payback included Amazon, U.S. Senator Joseph Lieberman, PostFinance – a Swiss payment transaction portal, MasterCard and others. Organizations like Recording Industry Association of America, the Motion Picture Association of America, the Library of Congress, Visa, Bank of America and the United States Copyright Office were also targeted.
The principal method of attack was distributed denial of services or DDoS, by which websites are overwhelmed by huge spikes in spurious Internet traffic, thus making them unavailable to genuine users.
The charge on the thirteen members of Anonymous includes one count of “conspiracy to intentionally cause damage to a protected computer” over a period stretching from September 16, 2010 to January 2, 2011. All of the defendants are from the US. And except two persons – Geoffrey Kenneth Commander, and Dennis Owen Collins – all others are in their twenties.