Feeds

Suspects in PayPal web attack not so anonymous after all

DDoS as civil disobedience

The Power of One eBook: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

Some of the suspects accused of participating in a December attack organized by the Anonymous hacker collective that caused numerous service disruptions on PayPal were shocked to learn that the net isn't all that anonymous, or that it's illegal to impair other people's computers.

According to The New York Times, some of the 14 people charged with carrying out denial-of-service attacks on the eBay-owned payment service saw no need to cover their tracks because they didn't know what they were doing was a felony.

Among them was Keith Downey, a 26-year-old self-taught programmer from Jacksonville, Florida. Angered by PayPal's decision to stop processing donations to WikiLeaks, he elected to register his dismay by joining in the attacks using a home computer that he took no steps to anonymize. According to the NYT, he likened the web attack to college sit-ins of the 1970s and to Gandhi's civil disobedience movement against British rule in India.

With the seizure of his computer equipment by the FBI in January and his arrest last week, he is now "patching together construction work to make ends meet" and trying to figure out how to cover the cost of traveling to California to attend a court hearing scheduled for September.

Another suspect, Santa Rosa, California-based Drew Phillips, admits being sympathetic to the attacks on PayPal but says he didn't actually participate, even if he joined some of the Anonymous chats and downloaded the Low Orbit Ion Cannon used to bombard PayPal with more traffic than it could handle.

"I didn't have anything to hide," he told the NYT. "I didn't feel I had to mask my IP address. What would anyone want with me?"

The NYT described the suspects as "mostly in their 20s and living unremarkable lives in small towns and suburbs across the country." They include "a college student, an ex-Marine, a couple of self-taught programmers, even a young man whose only celebrity before last week's arrest was that he dressed up as Harry Potter for a movie premier."

They have been charged with conspiracy and intentional damage to a protected computer and face a maximum of 15 years in federal prison, fines, and restitution. ®

The Power of One eBook: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

More from The Register

next story
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
Mozilla fixes CRITICAL security holes in Firefox, urges v31 upgrade
Misc memory hazards 'could be exploited' - and guess what, one's a Javascript vuln
BMW's ConnectedDrive falls over, bosses blame upgrade snafu
Traffic flows up 20% as motorway middle lanes miraculously unclog
LibreSSL RNG bug fix: What's all the forking fuss about, ask devs
Blow to bit-spitter 'tis but a flesh wound, claim team
Manic malware Mayhem spreads through Linux, FreeBSD web servers
And how Google could cripple infection rate in a second
Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network
'Prevent people that are passing by to hook up to your network', pleads plod
Don't look, Snowden: Security biz chases Tails with zero-day flaws alert
Exodus vows not to sell secrets of whistleblower's favorite OS
Researcher sat on critical IE bugs for THREE YEARS
VUPEN waited for Pwn2Own cash while IE's sandbox leaked
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.