Police swoop on hacktivists in the US, UK and Netherlands

According to Computer Weekly, most of the arrests were in the US, where the FBI said 16 people had been detained, 14 in connection with an attack on eBay's PayPal in December by hacking group Anonymous.

CW reports that UK police, collaborating with the FBI and Dutch counterparts, arrested a teenager in London and four other suspected hackers were detained by police in the Netherlands.

The 16-year-old boy arrested in south London was detained on suspicion of breaching the Computer Misuse Act 1990, reports the BBC.

According to the Dutch newsline meanwhile, the Netherlands arrests were of four men, aged between 35 and 17, who are suspected of hacking into a number of websites, including Dutch dating site Pepper.nl and chat site Nimbuzz.

A Dutch police statement noted that the men operated using code names and were trying to steal confidential government and corporate information and make it public.

The Dutch newswire says that the four men operated under the name AntiSec NL and may be an offshoot of the international hackers collective Anonymous.

The arrests, adds the newswire, are part of an international investigation which led to the arrest of 16 people in the US and one in Britain.

The Telegraaf newspaper, meanwhile, reported that the Dutch hackers used a server in Haarlem to launch the attack and that one of the four men - the 17-year-old - operated an internet relay chat for the hacktivist group.

Commenting on the arrests, Carole Theriault, senior technology consultant with Sophos, said that the computer crime authorities will be hoping that they have struck a significant blow against the Anonymous and LulzSec hacking groups, following the raids.

"While the arrests are a significant step forward, anyone who believes we have heard the last of the hacktivists is probably going to be sourly disappointed", she said.


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