Another Suspected Anonymous Member Arrested in UK

Thursday, August 25, 2011

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Scotland Yard has announced the arrest of Peter David Gibson, 22, of Castleton Road, Hartlepool, Cleveland on charges that the student participated in distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks organized by the rogue hacktivist group Anonymous, particularly the attack on the online payment processor Pay Pal late last year.

According to a report in The Register, Gibson has been charged with conspiracy to "do an unauthorised act in relation to a computer, with intent to impair the operation of any computer or prevent or hinder access to any program or data held in a computer or to impair the operation of any such program or the reliability of such data."

Previously, Scotland Yard had announced in late July they had arrested suspected Anonymous spokesman Jake Davis, also known as Topiary. Also in late July, more than 35 Search Warrants Executed in United States resulting in fourteen individuals being arrested by FBI agents, and five arrests were made in Europe as part of the ongoing investigations into the attack on PayPal.

In early July, Italian authorities had conducted 31 raids connected to investigations into attacks claimed by the hacker collective, including operations targeting the Italian government.

In June, 19-year-old U.K. resident and suspected Anonymous hacktivist Ryan Cleary was arrested after a joint investigation by Scotland Yard and the FBI, and he could face extradition to the United States to face federal charges under the Computer Misuse Act and Fraud Act.

The event that has spurred the arrests began on December 3rd, 2010, when PayPal had announced it was suspending the fundraising accounts of WikiLeaks for violation of the Acceptable Use Policy, stating:

"PayPal has permanently restricted the account used by WikiLeaks due to a violation of the PayPal Acceptable Use Policy, which states that our payment service cannot be used for any activities that encourage, promote, facilitate or instruct others to engage in illegal activity. We have notified the account holder of this action. "

Following PayPal's suspension of the WikiLeaks account, Anonymous launched the DDoS attack, and tweeted the following messages:

“TANGO DOWN — thepaypalblog.com — Blog of Paypal, company that has restricted Wikileaks’ access to funding. #Paypal #Wikileaks #WL #DDoS”

“Close your #Paypal accounts in light of the blatant misuse of power to partially disable #Wikileaks funding. Join in the #DDoS if you’d like”

The PayPal blog was reported to have been offline for several hours as a result. DDoS attacks are attempts to render web servers unavailable to users through a variety of means, including saturating the targeted network with communications requests, thereby denying access to legitimate users.

Further arrests and indictments are expected as authorities continue their investigations into other Anonymous, LulzSec and AntiSec attacks, including those perpetrated against Visa, MasterCard, PostFinance Bank, Amazon, Bank of America, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce website, and for having breached the systems of security consultants HBGary Federal.

 

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