FBI issues search warrants for WikiLeaks ‘Anonymous’ gang

The move comes the same day that five men were arrested by London’s Metropolitan Police for their connection to the DDoS attacks under the UK’s Computer Misuse Act of 1990.

Details about who was served warrants, or where they were executed, are scant, as an FBI spokesperson told Infosecurity that no further details were available due to the ongoing investigation.

The FBI did say, however, that the warrants were in connection to “recent coordinated cyber attacks against major companies and organizations”, among them PayPal, MasterCard, and Visa.

“A group calling itself  “Anonymous” has claimed responsibility for the attacks, saying they conducted them in protest of the companies’ and organizations’ actions”, the FBI noted in a press release statement. “The attacks were facilitated by the software tools the group makes available for free download on the Internet.”

Commenting on the warrants, Chet Wisniewski, a senior security advisor with security firm Sophos said: “Unlike the Met Police, the FBI did not release many details as to who they may have executed the warrants against, or specifically what they were looking for. It is likely they were intending on seizing the computers used during the attacks to look for logs related to the planning and execution of the attacks.”

Criticizing the FBI’s language in its press release, Wisniewski said he believes the FBI insinuated that the attackers in question created the tools used to attack the commercial websites.

“I believe most attackers were using an ‘off the shelf’ DDoS tool called LOIC, which is unrelated to "Anonymous”, he said in a recent blog post. “LOIC [was] developed by Alexander M. Batishchev, which by definition makes him not anonymous.”

The FBI statement reminded readers that creating tools for a DDoS attack was punishable both by criminal law and civil charges. “Suggesting that creating a multi-purpose tool is the reason they are executing these warrants strikes a chill in me”, Wisniewski responded. “That would be like going after Stanley Tools for making the box cutters that the 9-11 hijackers used. I hope it is an honest mistake.”

What’s Hot on Infosecurity Magazine?