The United States has indicted 13 people believed to be members of activist group Anonymous
for their part in Operation Payback. Charges against the suspected members of the hacking collective range from allegations of attacking websites connected to the government, lobbyists, and credit card companies, as a protest against the shutdown of The Pirate Bay
The thirteen people in the grand jury indictments, filed in the US District Court of Alexandria, Virginia according to Reuters
, consist of people aged between 21 and 65 and live in 13 different states, with the indictment document
listing their names as well as pseudonyms used by the team.
Operation Payback was an initiative by Anonymous to retaliate against various bodies seeking and temporarily succeeding in the shutdown of the Pirate Bay in 2010, and later expanded to attacking banks and other services that refused to process payments for WikiLeaks
. Denial of Service attacks through the LOIC tool were made against the Motion Picture Association of America, the Library of Congress, Bank of America, Visa, and Mastercard, according to the indictment. Despite the apparent size of the attacks, the indictment mentions that the group managed to "affect ten or more protected computers" in a one-year period starting from September 16th, 2010, causing damage "aggregating at least $5,000 in value" rather than the $5.6 million previously reported.
A British hacker was found guilty for his part in Operation Payback in December
. Christopher Weatherhead, a university student also known as "Nerdo" and "NikonElite" was sentenced to 18 months in prison in December. Three others arrested at the same time as Weatherhead had pleaded guilty earlier in the court proceedings.