U.S. Indicts 13 Anonymous Members

U.S. Indicts 13 Anonymous Members
U.S. Indicts 13 Anonymous Members

Between September 2010 and January 2011, Anonymous carried out Operation Payback in retaliation for the Pirate Bay takedown and in support of one of its favorite people: WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. The initiative took down websites for the Recording Industry Association of America, Motion Picture Association of America, the United States Copyright Office of the Library of Congress, Visa, MasterCard and Bank of America.

The attacks resulted in “significant damage to the victims,” according to the indictment.

The group is accused of inflicting a distributed denial of service attack, using a specific weapon of choice: the defendants used and, in some cases, publicized and distributed to other Anonymous members, a freely-available and downloadable network stress testing program known as the Low OrbitIon Cannon (LOIC).

To generate enough irrelevant Internet traffic to effectively shut down a specific website required the collective firing of many LOIC tools at the same time and at the same website address,” reads the indictment. “Members of Anonymous participated in and coordinated these DDoS cyber-attacks – deciding on the next target; publicizing the victim names and IP addresses; announcing dates, times and relevant instructions; downloading the LOIC tool; and recruiting more attackers – through postings on web bulletin boards and through social media and dedicated online chat rooms known as Internet Relay Chat (IRC) channels.”

At particular issue is the public recruitment of others to the DDoS cause. On or about September 16, 2010, a member of the conspiracy posted a flier on a web bulletin board advertising a cyber-attack against the MPAA website hosted in California. The flier announced: “We target the bastard group that has thus far led this charge against our websites, like The Pirate Bay. We target MPAA.ORG! The IP is designated at [IP address], and our firing time remains THE SAME.”

The flier provided the location at which co-conspirators could download the LOIC tool, and gave instructions as follows: “Install the LOIC linked above into any directory you choose, load it up and set the target IP to [IP address] port 80 Method will be TCP, threads set to 10+, with a message of ‘Payback is a bitch’… Everything else must be left blank. Once you have the target locked, DO NOT FIRE. REPEAT: DO NOT FIRE! This will be a calm, coordinated display of blood. We will not be merciful.”

Operation Payback caused damage affecting at least 10 protected computers and caused loss aggregating at least $5,000 in value during a one-year period, the Grand Jury found.

The indictment was handed up at Federal District Court in Alexandria, Va.


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