The Metropolitan Police force has arrested five people suspected of involvement in the recent Operation Payback distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks by the Anonymous hacktivist group on various web sites.
The five males, aged 15, 16, 19, 20 and 26, were arrested Thursday morning by the Met’s Police Central e-Crime Unit (PCeU) in a co-ordinated swoop on addresses in the West Midlands, Northants, Herts, Surrey and London.
The Met said that the investigation was being carried out “in conjunction with international law enforcement agencies in Europe and the US”, with the suspects detained under the Computer Misuse Act 1990.
All five have been taken to local police stations where they remain in custody, it added.
The arrests come after a series of DDoS attacks were launched at the end of 2010 by the online hacktivist collective Anonymous, on organisations perceived to have deliberately obstructed the work of WikiLeaks. These included Visa, MasterCard and PayPal.
The Dutch High Tech Crime Unit has already swooped twice in December to arrest a 16 and 19 year-old in connection with the attacks. The suspects are thought to have downloaded the Low Orbit Ion Canon (LOIC) tool provided by Anonymous to turn their PCs into botnets and carry out the attacks.
Security experts have said in the past that this makes it easy for police to track them as LOIC does not mask the IP address of the user.
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