13 Anonymous members indicted over Operation Payback

13 Anonymous members indicted over Operation Payback

Summary: 13 suspected members of the hacktivist collective Anonymous have been indicted by U.S. federal authorities.


Suspected members of the hacktivist collective Anonymous have been indicted in connection to cyberattacks on targets including Visa, Mastercard and the MPAA as part of "Operation Payback."

Credit: Darren Pauli/ZDNet Australia

The indictment, unsealed on Thursday, indicts 13 alleged members of Anonymous with organizing denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks and closing down the websites of companies including the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), Visa, Mastercard and the Bank of America.

Dubbed "Operation Payback," the hacktivist campaign took place between September 2010 and January 2011. The 13 are accused of taking down services by using the Low-Orbit Ion Cannon application, which caused "significant damage" to victims.

According to the indictment, the 13 "planned and executed a coordinated series of cyber-attacks against victim websites by flooding those websites with a huge volume of irrelevant Internet traffic with the intent to make the resources on the websites unavailable to customers and users of those websites."

Another court filing (.pdf) shows that the U.S. government has requested a warrant for the arrest of all of the suspects, who range in age from 25 to over sixty.

Anonymous claimed that the operation targeted those who "opposed its stated philosophy of making all information free for all, including information protected by copyright laws or national security considerations.”

Starting as a protest against copyright, targets were selected based on attitudes to piracy, copyright and the flow of information -- in particular, those who opposed sites including The Pirate Bay were selected.

In a press release, the hacktivist collective said:

"We will prevent users to access said enemy sites and we will keep them down for as long as we can ... Anonymous is tired of corporate interests controlling the internet and silencing the people's rights to spread information, but more importantly, the right to share with one another."

Credit:Darren Pauli/ZDNet Australia

The hacktivist group have taken responsibility for a number of campaigns and attacks -- often organized and promoted over social media -- over the past few years. Campaigns have touched upon copyright, U.S. banking reform, political issues abroad and battles against censorship, among others.

Topics: Security, Government US

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  • We mourn your loss.

    A society cannot function without a gadfly.
    • A vandal is not a gadfly

      John L. Ries
      • Cognitive Distortion #4 - Disqualifying the Positive

        "You reject positive experiences by insisting they "don't count" for some reason or other. In this way you can maintain a negative belief that is contradicted by your everyday experiences." ~David D. Burns, M.D.
        • Genital Stage

          "The final stage of psychosexual development begins at the start of puberty when sexual urges are once again awakened. Through the lessons learned during the previous stages, adolescents direct their sexual urges onto opposite sex peers, with the primary focus of pleasure is the genitals."

          Sigmund Freud
        • While I like David Burns...

          ...your response has no apparent relevance to mine.
          John L. Ries
      • The Boston Tea Party...

        ... was an act of vandalism, too. When oppression becomes rampant, people commit acts of vandalism to voice their displeasure.
        • Yes, but...

          ...if you put a baseball bat through the front window of my house because you think I'm an evil oppressor, I will do everything in my power to see to it that you go to prison after paying to replace my window. But unlike George III's ministers, I won't try to punish your friends and neighbors for putting up with you.
          John L. Ries
          • Yes, but...

            John your analogy assumes that the victim of the baseball bat attack and those who were allegedly attack by anonymous are innocent.

            One thing that I have learned is that when considering retaliation one needs to be well aware of just how far things may escalate. Unless you are ready to follow the cycle of escalation to completion it is best to not go there – unless you feel untouchable.

            In any case what really matters in this story is who the real oppressor is, as the time of evil oppressors is very rapidly coming to an end. Soon everything will be crystal clear in the light of day to everyone and we will no longer have grounds to disagree.

            And yes, RT really is a superior news source.
          • It doesn't matter whether or not the vandal thinks I'm innocent

            He still vandalized my house. I did assume that the vandal thinks I'm an "evil oppressor" (whether I actually am or not).
            John L. Ries
          • Still dealing with the hypothetical

            Nobody vandalized my house.

            Suffice it say that I will not defend lynch law or its practitioners; as by doing so I would consent to be punished by whomever may object to my actions (whether I did them or not and whether or not they're actually wrong) in whatever manner he may choose.
            John L. Ries
          • A different way to put this...

            The French Resistance....vandals or heroes?
            They also heavily broke the laws of the day, so from a moral point of view, should they be prosecuted?

            Not defending or accusing the Anonymous bunch but simply to put things in perspective (in line with Bill's post), how do you answer above question?

            It's like looking through binoculars - depending from which end you are looking, the image is always opposed and different from the opposite end.

            The law is right to prosecute a vandal but as someone else here said, the laws sometimes need to be broken in order to be changed!

            And in the case of any hacktivist group - electronic sabotage is their choice of fighting- back weapon, because that is what they are good at - IT!
          • I'll keep that in mind...

            ...the next time the country is occupied by a foreign power (or law and order have completely broken down).

            But even then, I would be reluctant to unilaterally punish my neighbors for supposed wrongdoing; or assist others in doing so because lynch mobs have been hurting the innocent (or the insufficiently guilty) throughout history and I would not want that to happen to me.
            John L. Ries
          • Correction

            "lynch mobs, vigilantes and self-appointed freedom fighters"
            John L. Ries
          • fare enough..

            I agree with you that all this is a double sided affair (as most things are).
            I was just pointing out the opposite of what you stated, but with a context attached to it.

            The driving force, or the ideology of the act, is what actually matters. Your example simply described an act of vandalism based on the unstable nature of someone that might have an unfounded grudge against you.

            Sorry if I am becoming somewhat technical and nitpicky!
          • That's just it

            A lot of what Anonymous has done ("Operation Payback" in particular) is revenge hacking. And the targets are deemed guilty because Anonymous has declared them to be.

            In any event, except for the fact that "hactivists" have thus far restricted themselves to property damage, rather than physical punishment of targets (but that might be coming), I fail to see the difference between "hactivism" and lynch law.
            John L. Ries
          • Forgot about harassment

            That does appear to be what the Anons do best.
            John L. Ries
          • Undecided!

            I sit on the fence on this particular issue, and as such, my post threaded the concept in a generalizing manner, rather than aimed at this incident alone.
            Perhaps I mislead you!

            Nevertheless, we live in a modern world and the means of voicing our opposition or disagreement have changed. So, perhaps we are too harsh to condemn or too soft not to act, but we should always remember - there are many Robin Hoods in the history of humankind, and often, their agenda is not always apparent / transparent to allow to cast a condemnation or approval vote.
            Time will tell!
          • Correction..

            Correction from:

            [I]....there are many Robin Hoods in the history of humankind...[/I]

            Should have been:

            [I]... there are many who assume and undertake the role of Robin Hood[/I]
          • The bottom line is

            They stopped customers of Visa, Mastercard and Bank of America from conducting legal and probably completely moral business.. like maybe getting gas, food.. things of that nature. They hurt the customers far more than the corporations.. so it was vandalism, pretty simple.. and I do no see them representing anyone but themselves in this.
          • Sure they did...

            ... cause inconveniences through their actions which were also felt by the man on the street, but most opposing acts do come with a collateral damage of some sort!
            Such things are to be expected!

            Going back to the Boston Tea Party - when the tea was thrown into the harbor as an act of oppression, surely there was tea shortage in the area for a short period of time and the populace was possibly "forced" to drink more coffee! But they survived the ordeal! There you have it - collateral damage!