FBI arrests Anonymous hackers, conducts raids

July 20, 2011

Federal agents on Tuesday arrested more than a dozen people around the nation with ties to the hacker group “Anonymous.” The arrests were made in nine states and the District of Columbia. [Montery Herald.com]

In an indictment unsealed in U.S. District Court in San Jose, 14 defendants were charged in connection with a December 2010 retaliatory cyber attack that effectively blocked PayPal from conducting online business transactions.

The online pay service had cut off accounts for the controversial website, Wikileaks, founded by Julian Assange, for its release of tens of thousands of secret documents, including embarrassing classified U.S. State Department dispatches.

Anonymous, a loosely organized online hacker group, responded by disrupting PayPal’s computer servers through denial-of-service attacks, which blocked users from accessing their accounts.

The group claims it later disrupted Visa and MasterCard websites after those credit card companies also stopped processing donations to Wikileaks.

The group has claimed responsibility for numerous other attacks on corporate and government websites that it views as corrupt, or as a threat to free society and the free flow of online information.

During the 2011 Egyptian Revolution, Anonymous hacked into Egyptian government websites and took them offline.

The group uses online aliases; some of those who were indicted included nicknames such as “Anthrophobic,” “Toxic,” and “Reaper.”

The FBI announced that it also conducted dozens of raids as part of its ongoing investigation into other Anonymous-related cyber attacks.

The San Jose indictment alleges that members of Anonymous carried out a hacking attack in December called “Operation Avenge Assange” after PayPal suspended Wikileaks’ accounts.

The 14 defendants, mostly twentysomethings, were charged with conspiracy and intentional damage to a protected computer.

Charged in the indictment were: Christopher Wayne Cooper, 23, Joshua John Covelli, 26, Keith Wilson Downey, 26, Mercedes Renee Haefer, 20, Donald Husband, 29, Vincent Kershaw, 27, Ethan Miles, 33, James C. Murphy, 36, Derw Alan Phillips, 26, Jeffrey Puglisi, 28, Daniel Sullivan, 22, Tracy Ann Valenzuela, 42 and Christopher Quang Vo, 22. One defendant’s name was kept confidential by the court.


17 Comments

  1. Ugluk says:

    I like what Anonymous has done in exposing the poison that is Scientology. I do not like this hacking, however, and I’m glad they were caught.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  2. rogerfreberg says:

    The amusing thing about anyone who breaks the law is that few feel they will ever get caught…because they get away with it so many times before and become a bit arrogant and careless.

    Hacking has been going on for years, their mistake (IMHO) is they hacked the wrong people this time.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 4

    • MaryMalone says:

      I agree, many people do get the idea that they will never be caught and that is why they continue doing wrong.

      However, some people continue doing “wrong” because they believe it is the right thing to do. When America’s Founding Fathers conspired to overthrow England’s lawful government, that was treason, but the FFs believed it was the right thing to do, so took the risk.

      I also agree that it was the who it was they hacked that triggered the uber-mass-arrest. Note that it was credit card companies and PayPal. As we’ve seen since 2008, the banks pretty much run our country, and know they can steal from us whenever they want.

      I have no sympathy for the banks. They have screwed over so many Americans that the idea that they were inconvenienced for a day actually is kind of fun to think of. It’s the closest we’ll ever get to revenge against the banks.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 4

  3. Citizen says:

    Yes, these are heroes to the Geek crowd, non violent hackers who disrupt web sites for “freedom and justice” and non violent protest. If you want the real criminals, look at the ATF, and Dept. of Justice for the “Operation Fast and Furious” operatives who sold guns purposely in the US to drug cartels to take into Mexico resulting in the deaths of many Mexicans and at least one American.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

  4. BeenThereDoneThat says:

    Hotdog. HEROES?? PLEASE!!! Let’s take the Wikileaks and how people feel about Gov. out ot the equation and get down to basics. They are hackers. You know the types of guys that keep I.T. guys at corporations busy. The type of guys that cased two of my computers to have a visit to the computer shop last year because of viruses. They type of guys that cause billions in lost revenue and damage each year to personnel and business computers.

    Let’s not romantisize the notion that these type of people are doing good for the common people. It is usually self serving interests.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 6

    • hotdog says:

      You have no idea these particular people are the same type that caused you grief. So why the outrage?

      Little too much ‘law and order’ here, Nixons’s favorite mantra while he was subverting the constitution. These people were striking a blow for freedom; those whining about my position are dupes of the system. You fools protect the very forces that will sink you. C’est la vie!

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 5

      • BeenThereDoneThat says:

        This is waaaay to funny of a reply. First bang the ol drum of Nixon 35 years later. Why? Because libs can’t form an arguement. Second. Say your opponent is angry, this n that etc. to elicet a responce. Why? Because you can’t form an arguement.

        Also reread article. Never said nor implied that these people did anything to me. Said it is a type like this that does the kind of virus attacking on the net. We fools, as you imply, are more than well read enough so we can protect others like you from yourselfs. In advance you’re welcome for me protecting you from yourself. No problem, glad I could help.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

      • MaryMalone says:

        I just saw a PBS documentary on Daniel Ellsberg. Lots of things I didn’t know about how it all went down.

        I am amazed at how similar Ellsberg’s story is to Julian Assange’s story. The most obvious–and what we are dealing with now, Hotdog–is the demonification the government is trying to do with Assange/Wikileaks/Anonymous, just like Nixon did to Ellsberg.

        In both cases, if the government(s) involved had not done so many heinous things, and lied to us nearly 24/7, there would be no need for people like Ellsberg and Assange to risk their futures in order to inform the people what our government is doing with our money, in our name, behind our backs, and at our detriment.

        I think anyone who is willing to sacrifice themselves for the betterment of the country is a hero.

        I think anyone who would knee-jerk gulp down what the corporate-controlled government says about someone like Ellsberg, Assange, or the Anonymous peeps, to the point where they would actually criticize them because they inconvenienced the thieving, filthy banks….after what the banks have done to our country and to Americans–is a mindless tool.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  5. hotdog says:

    Far as I can tell these people are heroes. Wikileaks just told the truth, like Daniel Ellsberg in getting the Pentagon Papers published 40 years ago that exposed many of the US lies about its involvement in Viet Nam. Heroes, all persecuted for ‘stepping out of line’. Some country we have…

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 24 Thumb down 31

    • isoslo says:

      Far as I can tell these people broke the law and are criminals. Or do the citizens just get to pick and choose which laws to obey. There are legal ways to protest a perceived wrong.

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 29 Thumb down 14

      • danika says:

        Illegal is illegal…breaking the law is always breaking the law. For both hackers and undocumented workers. Let’s not allow ANY looking the other way for either law breakers. No sanctuary.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 8

        • MaryMalone says:

          Danika, don’t you find it interesting that our government and elected officials don’t give a rat’s ass about when credit-card companies break laws and commit fraud against the consumers?

          But, dang, just let the banks suffer one day of not being able to gouge Americans and steal their homes from them, and our government snaps to attention and goes ape-chit.

          I still don’t get why people are so upset that the credit card companies and banks were inconvenienced for one day. We’re not talking about the Baby Jesus, here.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 4

        • hotdog says:

          Well, what would you say about the Underground Railroad? Ever heard of that? How about the Sanctuary movement here in the 80s? Ever heard of Witness for Peace?
          I doubt it, seeing as how strict you are about the ‘law’? The law is always applied unevenly with perks and slack for the big wigs, and crap for the rest of us. Crying about ‘the law’ and ‘breaking the law’ just shows how shallow and misinformed many people are.
          By the way, those movements and groups I mentioned were all either ‘illegal’ or quasi illegal-and were committed to promoting human rights and ending slavery (for no personal gain!). I suppose you folks have little concern for or knowledge of those trivial subjects.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2

        • Vagabond says:

          Bullshit, our very country was based on breaking unjust laws. Hiding behind the shield of imagined morality is the sign of a weak mind.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

          • hotdog says:

            Exactly.

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

          • MaryMalone says:

            ITA.

            Amazing how quickly some learn to march in lock-step with whatever the government says, no?

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

    • MaryMalone says:

      Did you notice that, while the FBI just started investigations into the allegations of Murdoch’s outfit bribing American officials and LEOs for access to government information, and trying to hack the cell phones of the victims and families of 911?

      It appears our government’s priority is NOT ensuring the safety of our citizens’ private information, or even the government’s information, but in protecting credit-card/pay-pal type institutions.

      Chase bank paid zero taxes last year. I’m sure many other banks and credit-card services paid zero, as well.

      Do I give a rat’s ass if hackers made it inconvenient for credit card companies and paypal? After they caved into the government’s pressure?

      NO.

      As long as no private individual’s money or private information was taken, then I have no problems with anonymous retaliating against the banks.

      Just like “all Republicans are not bad,” “all hackers are not heroes.” IMO.

      America is becoming, more and more, a police state. Our president has greatly expanded the powers of the presidency. He launches invasions of countries whenever and where ever he wants, slaughtering our soldiers/troops, as well as driving us further into debt and closer to insolvency, without repercussion.

      Hackers are really the only weapon the common people have against the fascist oligarchy our government has become. Wikileaks is one of the few avenues we have to the truth about what our government, and it’s allies, are doing in America’s name. Anonymous’ retaliation, therefore, IMO, is fine with me.

      I am not talking about the petty malevolent hackers who do it out of boredom or because they want revenge for a perceived wrong, etc. I certainly don’t mean it in the way Murdock’s outfit did it, invading the privacy of individual people to make money off of them by printing scandals they uncover.

      However, I think in the future hackers may end up being what keeps us from becoming a total police state. For that reason alone, I am inclined to tolerate the asshat, small-potatoes hackers…for now.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 2

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