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20 July 2011, 10:49

FBI arrests suspected members of Anonymous

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Anonymous logo The FBI says that it has arrested 16 individuals, 14 of whom are believed to be members of the Anonymous hacker group. The suspects have been accused of carrying out DDoS attacks in support of the WikiLeaks whistleblower platform. Wikileaks had controversially released classified US government data which had made headlines around the world in the months before the attacks were staged.

The defendants are charged with various counts of conspiracy and "intentional damage to a protected computer", said the FBI. 35 search warrants were reportedly executed across the US. According to the FBI, a further four arrests were made in the Netherlands and one in the UK.

In particular, the FBI has accused the suspects of hitting PayPal with a DDoS attack after the payment platform terminated the WikiLeaks donations account, apparently in response to WikiLeaks disclosures. According to the FBI, these DDoS attacks were named "Operation Avenge Assange".

A 21-year-old suspect allegedly accessed, without authorisation, the web servers of security organisation InfraGard and uploaded three files. He is then said to have tweeted about the intrusion and shared instructions on how to exploit the web site. InfraGard has also been targeted by the LulzSec hacker group. Another suspect, also 21 years old, allegedly stole thousands of documents, applications and other files from a server belonging to his employer, AT&T. The FBI said that the LulzSec hacker group later released those files on the internet.

According to the press release, the suspects were apprehended in various US states including New York, California, Florida and Nevada. Reportedly, the arrested individuals are between 20 and 42 years of age. The FBI said that they are facing up to ten years' imprisonment and fines of up to $250,000.


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