20 Jul 2011

Cybercrime ‘hackers’ arrested in UK and US

A teenage boy from Britain is one of 15 people arrested on suspicion of being connected to hacking group Anonymous, which targeted PayPal’s website in retaliation for suspending WikiLeaks’ accounts.

A teenage boy from Britain is one of more than 20 people arrested around the world in connection with cybercrime (Getty)

The 16-year-old boy was arrested at a south London address on Tuesday and taken to a central London police station, where he remains in custody.

He was held on suspicion of breaching the Computer Misuse Act 1990.

The Metropolitan Police is liaising with the FBI and authorities in the Netherlands.

It is understood that he is suspected of being connected with hacking group Anonymous.

Fourteen people were arrested in the US for allegedly mounting a cyber attack on PayPal’s website in retaliation for suspending the accounts of WikiLeaks.

The attacks on the online payment specialist by the group Anonymous followed the release by whistleblowing website WikiLeaks in November of thousands of classified US State Department cables.

Anonymous, a loosely-organised group of hackers sympathetic to WikiLeaks, has claimed responsibility for attacks against corporate and government websites all over the world.

Read more: Were WikiLeaks-linked cyber attacks over hyped?

The group also claims to have disrupted the websites of Visa and MasterCard in December when the credit card companies stopped processing donations to WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange.

The 14 allegedly involved in the PayPal attack were charged in US District Court in San Jose, California, and were arrested in Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, the District of Columbia, Florida, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Mexico and Ohio.

Elsewhere FBI agents executed more than 35 search warrants around the country in a continuing investigation into co-ordinated cyber attacks against major companies and organisations.

There were two arrests in the United States unrelated to the PayPal attack and four arrests by the Dutch National Police Agency.

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