UK Police Bust Hackers

Tuesday, September 6, 2011 @ 12:09 PM gHale

Two men are facing charges with being a part of a trans-Atlantic investigation into attacks carried out by the hacking groups Anonymous and Lulz Security, British police said.

Police arrest a 24-year-old and a 20-year-old at two separate U.K. addresses as part of a continuing investigation in collaboration with the FBI and other law-enforcement agencies, Scotland Yard said.

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“The arrests relate to our inquiries into a series of serious computer intrusions and online denial-of-service attacks recently suffered by a number of multi-national companies, public institutions and government and law enforcement agencies in Great Britain and the United States,” said Detective Inspector Mark Raymond from the Metropolitan Police’s Central e-Crime Unit.

Hacking group Lulz Security claimed responsibility for attacks on targets such as Sony Corp., the CIA and Britain’s Serious Organized Crime Agency.

The group is a spin-off of Anonymous, a group of activists and hackers whose targets included Visa and MasterCard.

Anonymous has turned its focus to law enforcement, intelligence and military-related sites.

Police said the two men arrested Thursday remain in custody and a computer seized in the investigation now under examination.

The arrests come amid a trans-Atlantic crackdown on Anonymous and its supporters. Dozens of arrests linked to the ad hoc international hacking collective occurred in recent weeks, including a cross-country FBI sting earlier this summer in which 14 are now facing charges.

Separately, British police said two more men are facing charges related to denial-of-service attacks carried out by Anonymous.

The charges against Christopher Jan Weatherhed, 20, and Ashley Rhodes, 26, are separate from the joint FBI investigation.

Weatherhed and Rhodes will appear at City of Westminster Magistrates Court Wednesday alongside two others previously charged with the same offense.

Denial-of-service attacks choke websites with traffic the same way a telephone line might be jammed with thousands of crank calls.

Anonymous likens such attacks to online civil disobedience, but penalties can be severe. The maximum sentence for a conviction on such a charge is 10 years in prison.

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