Anonymous hackers jailed over PayPal attack

Jan 24, 2013

Two computer hackers were jailed by a London court on Thursday for a series of cyber-attacks by the hacking group Anonymous that cost the US online payments giant PayPal millions of dollars.

Christopher Weatherhead, a 22-year-old student, was sentenced to 18 months in jail after being found guilty last month of carrying out attacks on PayPal, MasterCard, Visa and other companies that refused to process payments to the whistleblowing website WikiLeaks.

Ashley Rhodes, 28, admitted the same charge of conspiring to impair the operation of computers between August 1, 2010 and January 22, 2011 and was jailed for seven months.

Another hacker, 24-year-old Peter Gibson, had also pleaded guilty but was deemed to have played a lesser role in the attacks and was given a six-month suspended sentence.

A fourth man, 18-year-old Jake Birchall, who also admitted his involvement, will be sentenced later.

PayPal was repeatedly attacked in December 2010 after the website decided not to process payments made to the Wau Holland Foundation, an organisation involved in raising funds for WikiLeaks.

During Weatherhead's trial, prosecutors said the attack had cost the company £3.5 million ($5.5 million, 4.1 million euros) in loss of trading as well as software and hardware updates to fend off similar attacks.

The so-called distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks paralyse computer systems by overloading them with online requests.

Targeted websites were directed to a page reading: "You've tried to bite the Anonymous hand. You angered the hive and now you are being stung."

In a campaign codenamed "Operation Payback", Anonymous also targeted companies in the music industry and opponents of music piracy including the Ministry of Sound nightclub and record label, the trial had heard.

Explore further: Microsoft says under antitrust probe in China

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

WikiLeaks getting credit card funds

Jul 07, 2011

WikiLeaks has again begun accepting credit card donations, a company affiliated with the secret-spilling site said Thursday.

Anonymous, loose-knit group of 'hacktivists'

Jan 20, 2012

Anonymous, which briefly knocked the FBI and Justice Department websites offline in retaliation for the US shutdown of file-sharing site Megaupload, is a shadowy group of international hackers with no central ...

Spain nabs 3 suspected of global cyber attacks

Jun 10, 2011

(AP) -- Spanish police arrested three suspected computer hackers who allegedly belonged to a loose-knit international activist group that has attacked corporate and government websites around the world, authorities said ...

Recommended for you

Google searches hold key to future market crashes

7 hours ago

A team of researchers from Warwick Business School and Boston University have developed a method to automatically identify topics that people search for on Google before subsequent stock market falls.

User comments : 4

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Argiod
2 / 5 (4) Jan 24, 2013
This group, Anonymous, is beginning to become a real pain in the nether regions. Piracy is replacing privacy in today's world.
Egleton
3 / 5 (4) Jan 25, 2013

who paid you to say that?
frajo
3 / 5 (2) Jan 25, 2013
PayPal acts as an adversary to WikiLeaks. PayPal helps to hide war crimes. That's why PayPal must perish.
Just refrain from using its services.
Royale
not rated yet Feb 11, 2013
I do refrain and I will continue to frajo.

Although PayPal sucks; PayPal > Scientology.