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British student found guilty of Anonymous PayPal DDoS attacks

06 Dec 2012
Anonymous news site

A British student has been convicted over his role in a series of denial of service attacks against PayPal, which cost the payment firm £3.5m.

Christopher Weatherhead was part of an Anonymous gang that attacked PayPal in protest at the firm's decision not to handle payments being made to whistle-blowing website Wikileaks, in an attack dubbed 'Operation Payback'.

According to multiple reports, the jury hearing the case took little more than two hours to reach their guilty verdict.

Three other members of the gang had already pleaded guilty but Weatherhead had argued he had not taken part in the attacks, claiming his role had been limited to operating Anonymous chat rooms.

The judge presiding over the case, Peter Testar, told the defendants that he regarded the offences as serious.

Weatherhead, who was a student at Northampton University at the time of the attacks, was found guilty under the Criminal Law Act 1977, and could face jail time as a result of the guilty verdict.

The Metropolitan Police arrested five youths in 2011 in connection with Operation Payback, while other suspected members were arrested by the Dutch authorities.

Operation Payback had initially begun as a protest against the music industry's anti-piracy stance, but the focus changed after Wikileaks published a series of leaked diplomatic memos.

Several financial services firms including PayPal, MasterCard and Visa withdrew services from Wikileaks, and as a result drew the ire of the Anonymous activists.

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