US Charges 13 Alleged Anonymous Members

US police have 13 alleged members of hacktivist collective Anonymous, as  have been charged after an investigation into the Operation Payback, in which Anonymous hit financial bodies in 2010.

The Payback attacks affected a range of organisations including Mastercard, Visa, the Recording Industry Association of America and the Motion Picture Association of America, amongst many other anti-piracy bodies. The UK government’s British Intellectual Property Office was also hit.

Anonymous charges

The aim was to fight for freedom of information, regardless of copyright laws and national security, and came in retaliation at efforts to shut down The Pirate Bay.

According to the indictment, the attacks were carried out over a one-year period from around 16 September 2010. The defendants were said to have used the Low Orbit Ion Cannon (LOIC) tool to carry out distributed denial of service (DDoS) strikes, flooding target networks with traffic and knocking services offline.

The indictment said the attackers did not cause significant financial damage, with individual organisations claiming $5000 in costs as a result of the DDoS strikes.

Another document showed warrants for the arrest of the men, who are aged between 21 and 65.

One defendant, Dennis Collins, had already been included in another indictment from 2011, relating to attacks on PayPal.

In January, two men in the UK received jail sentences for their parts in DDoS attacks on PayPal, Mastercard, Visa and others. The attacks on PayPal were said to have cost the organisation £3.5 million.

Anonymous members across the world continue to be prosecuted.

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Thomas Brewster

Tom Brewster is TechWeek Europe's Security Correspondent. He has also been named BT Information Security Journalist of the Year in 2012 and 2013.

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