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PostSubject: Anonymous hackers jailed for cyber attacks on financial firms and anti-piracy websites   Thu Jan 24, 2013 9:17 pm

The websites were chosen by Anonymous, as part of so-called Operation Payback, because the hackers did not agree with their views.

Two members of hacking group Anonymous were jailed today for cyber attacks which cost one victim , PayPal, £3.5million.

Christopher Weatherhead, 22, and Ashley Rhodes, 28, helped paralyse computer systems by flooding them with online requests, Southwark crown court heard.

Anonymous also targeted Mastercard, Visa and anti-piracy websites between August 1, 2010 and January 22, 2011.

Weatherhead, of Northampton, got 18 months and Rhodes, of Camberwell, south London, seven months, for conspiring to impair the operation of computers.

Co-defendant Peter Gibson, 24, of Hartlepool, was deemed to have played a lesser role in the conspiracy, which he also admitted, and given a six-month suspended sentence.

Jake Birchall, 18, from Chester, will be sentenced on February 1.. He had also admitted the conspiracy.

Weatherhead did not react as he was jailed but Rhodes sighed and leant his head back on the wall behind him.

A relative of one of the four defendants was seen weeping outside the courtroom following the sentencing.

The websites that fell victim to the cyber attacks were chosen by Anonymous, as part of so-called Operation Payback, because the hackers did not agree with their views.

Victims’ websites would be directed to a page displaying the message: “You’ve tried to bite the Anonymous hand. You angered the hive and now you are being stung.”

Anonymous initially targeted companies involved in anti-piracy and digital rights, including the British Recorded Music Industry (BPI), the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) and four sites operated by the Ministry of Sound.

They then shifted their attention to payment sites which would not process donations to the Wau Holland Foundation, which is involved in raising funds for WikiLeaks.

Prosecutor Joel Smith said it was a “persistent campaign” designed to “cause damage, financial losses and press exposure”.

Judge Testar told the court: “The purpose of these conspirators was to cause the websites of organisations to crash and therefore take them temporarily out of service.”

He noted that their aims were not to cause permanent damage or to steal information from the sites and added: “The purpose was not commercial. It was activity by way of protest.”

The denial of service (DDoS) attacks themselves were not particularly sophisticated, according to the judge.

more here: Mirror

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