Feeds

Suspects in PayPal web attack not so anonymous after all

DDoS as civil disobedience

Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable

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. ®

Mobile application security vulnerability report

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
NEW, SINISTER web tracking tech fingerprints your computer by making it draw
Have you been on YouPorn lately, perhaps? White House website?
LibreSSL RNG bug fix: What's all the forking fuss about, ask devs
Blow to bit-spitter 'tis but a flesh wound, claim team
Black Hat anti-Tor talk smashed by lawyers' wrecking ball
Unmasking hidden users is too hot for Carnegie-Mellon
Manic malware Mayhem spreads through Linux, FreeBSD web servers
And how Google could cripple infection rate in a second
NUDE SNAPS AGENCY: NSA bods love 'showing off your saucy selfies'
Swapping other people's sexts is a fringe benefit, says Snowden
Own a Cisco modem or wireless gateway? It might be owned by someone else, too
Remote code exec in HTTP server hands kit to bad guys
prev story

Whitepapers

Reducing security risks from open source software
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.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
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.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.