Police in the U.K. have arrested five people in connection with attacks launched by the loosely affiliated group "Anonymous."
Police in the U.K. arrested five males Jan. 27 in connection with
several distributed denial-of-service attacks associated with the group
The suspects, ages 15-26, were picked up as part of what U.K.
police called an ongoing investigation into DDoS attacks launched
against several companies last year. According to police, the
investigation is being carried out in conjunction with law enforcement
agencies in the United States and Europe.
Though authorities did not say so specifically, the arrests are
widely believed to be tied to a series of retaliatory attacks targeting
companies and institutions considered hostile to WikiLeaks. Those
attacks, known as "Operation Payback," took place in December
and utilized people involved in an opt-in botnet
Before Operation Payback subsided, a number of companies had been
struck, including MasterCard and PayPal. In December, police in the
Netherlands arrested two people, a 16-year-old and a 19-year-old, for
their involvement in the attacks. For its part, the FBI raided a Dallas-based
server farm and seized servers used in the DDoS attack against PayPal.
In a paper, researchers at the University of Twente in the
Netherlands reported that the Low Orbit Ion Cannon (LOIC) tool used in
Operation Payback failed to protect the Internet
Protocol (IP) address of its users, in effect leaving them traceable by authorities.
"Clearly the authorities are not looking sympathetically on those
they believe are assisting the denial-of-service attacks," blogged
Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos. "And that's not
just true in the UK. For instance, in Holland we have now seen two
arrests in connection with the attacks."
"Clearly computer users should think very carefully before being
recruited as a hacktivist to launch attacks on Websites belonging to
other people - otherwise it could be that the police are knocking on
your door next," he added.