14 people were arrested Tuesday in conjunction with the cyber attack against PayPal after the company suspended access to WikiLeaks accounts. The arrests are the culmination of over 35 search warrants issued to FBI agents around the country. The attacks were organized by the guys from Anonymous, of course, who agrees with the mission of WikiLeaks: to spread information to everyone. The group was also associated with attacks against Visa and MasterCard for also cutting funding options to WikiLeaks.
Not all of the warrants and arrests, however, were associated with the PayPal attack; some were related to other WikiLeaks events. An AT&T customer support contractor was arrested for stealing confidential business information from the AT&T servers and uploading the information to WikiLeaks. A 16-year-old boy was also arrested in England. Both of these arrests are related to the other well-known hacker group, LulzSecurity and not Anonymous.
For more info on the arrests, hit the break.
The 14 arrests involving PayPal were spread around the country as well as a pretty wide age range, including arrests in Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, the District of Columbia, Florida, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Mexico and Ohio and ranging from 20 to 42 years of age. The attorney for the youngest defendant, 20-year-old Mercedes Renee Haefer (also known as No and MMMM online), comparing this case to cases of the past, said,
In the 18th century, people stood on street corners handing out pamphlets saying, 'Beware the all-powerful military and big government.' Some people listened. Some people walked away. Today, pamphleteers use the Internet.
While that may be true, the things they are doing in modern society is stealing information and attacking businesses to make a point. In the past, people wrote scholarly articles, letters and pamphlets to inform people of the dangers. That is a far cry from shutting down Sony, attacking Fox News and PBS and posting fake news stories on The Sun's website. One is an intelligent critique of society, the other is a childish, albeit sophisticated, prank.