July 20, 2011

16 Nabbed In Crackdown On Hacker Group Anonymous

Authorities arrested 16 people on Tuesday in connection with hacking attacks by the cyber activist group "ËœAnonymous', Fox News reported.

The arrests, which appeared to be part of a nationwide crackdown against the online group, came after FBI agents conducted early morning raids on Tuesday on multiple homes in New York, California, New Jersey and Florida, CBS news reported.   Some 30 to 40 search warrants had been issued prior to the raids.

Fourteen of the arrests were identified in the same indictment, while two separate criminal complaints filed out of courts in New Jersey and Florida name the two other alleged hackers.

Although it is not clear if the arrests include any of Anonymous' key players, all of those arrested are believed to have been involved in conducting coordinated, distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks on multiple large, high-profile companies.  

In carrying out such attacks, Anonymous typically enlists supporters to use software that sends so many requests to access the targeted Web site that it becomes overwhelmed, and essentially shuts down.

Some of Tuesday's arrests came out of the FBI's San Francisco field office, Fox News reported.

"I can confirm that we're conducting law enforcement actions relating to a criminal investigation," said Alicia Sensibaugh, an FBI spokeswoman for the agency's San Francisco office, out of which multiple search warrants were executed Tuesday morning.

Other searches earlier in the day involved FBI executed search warrants at two New York homes of three suspected members of Anonymous, Fox News reported.

More than 10 FBI agents raided the Baldwin, New York, home of Giordani Jordan with a search warrant for computers and computer-related accessories.  At least one laptop was taken from the home.

The arrests came one day after Anonymous, along with other cyber activist groups, hacked into British websites belonging to media company News Corp.    

Anonymous has previously carried out hacking attacks against corporate Web sites such as PayPal, MasterCard, Monsanto, Sony and Visa, as well as government Web sites belonging to the Arizona Department of Public Safety, the City of Orlando, Egypt, Turkey and Tunisia.


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