Wednesday, July 20, 2011

US DOJ: 21 hacking suspects arrested in US, UK, Netherlands

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Following the arrest of 16 suspected members of a hacker group in the United States, authorities arrested at least five more hackers in the United Kingdom and The Netherlands.

Computer security firm Sophos reported Wednesday (Manila time) that one was arrested in the UK, while Dutch police arrested at least four more.

"The UK's PCeU (Police Central e-Crime Unit) arrested a 16-year-old youth known as 'T-Flow' in South London, on suspicion of breaching the Computer Misuse Act. The teenager is allegedly connected to hacks perpetrated by the LulzSec and Anonymous groups," the US DOJ said.

It also said the Dutch National Police Agency arrested four individuals for alleged cybercrimes related to the case, but did not give added details.

This brought to at least 21 the number of people arrested over hacking activities in the last 24 hours.

Earlier in the United States, 14 of the arrested were linked to an Internet attack last year against PayPal, for which hacktivist group Anonymous had claimed responsibility.

Anonymous had attacked the PayPal site in retaliation for its withdrawing support for the WikiLeaks site.

"According to the San Jose indictment, in late November 2010, WikiLeaks released a large amount of classified U.S. State Department cables on its website. Citing violations of the PayPal terms of service, and in response to WikiLeaks’ release of the classified cables, PayPal suspended WikiLeaks’ accounts so that WikiLeaks could no longer receive donations via PayPal. WikiLeaks’ website declared that PayPal’s action 'tried to economically strangle WikiLeaks,'" the US DOJ said.

The US DOJ said Federal Bureau of Investigation agents served 35 search warrants in Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, the District of Columbia, Florida, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Mexico, Ohio and the District of New Jersey.

Named defendants by the US DOJ were:

  • Christopher Wayne Cooper, 23, aka “Anthrophobic;"

  • Joshua John Covelli, 26, aka “Absolem" and “Toxic;"

  • Keith Wilson Downey, 26;

  • Mercedes Renee Haefer, 20, aka “No" and “MMMM;"

  • Donald Husband, 29, aka “Ananon;"

  • Vincent Charles Kershaw, 27, aka “Trivette," “Triv" and “Reaper;"

  • Ethan Miles, 33;

  • James Murphy, 36;

  • Drew Alan Phillips, 26, aka “Drew010;"

  • Jeffrey Puglisi, 28, aka “Jeffer," “Jefferp" and “Ji;"

  • Daniel Sullivan, 22;

  • Tracy Ann Valenzuela, 42;

  • Christopher Quang Vo, 22.

    However, the DOJ said the court withheld the name of the 14th defendant.

    "The defendants charged in the San Jose indictment allegedly conspired with others to intentionally damage protected computers at PayPal from Dec. 6, 2010, to Dec. 10, 2010," the DOJ said.

    Also, the FBI arrested Scott Matthew Arciszewski, 21, in Florida. Arciszewski was charged with hacks targeted at the Tampa Bay InfraGard website. InfraGard is a partner firm of the FBI.

    Lance Moore, 21, of Las Cruses, New Mexico, was charged with allegedly stealing confidential business information from AT&T's web servers.

    Moore was allegedly a customer support contractor at AT&T, and was accused of having downloaded documents and other files that he was not authorized to access.

    "These cases are being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys in the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices for the Northern District of California, Middle District of Florida and the District of New Jersey. The Criminal Division’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section also has provided assistance," the DOJ said.

    But Sophos senior technology consultant Graham Cluley warned the arrests may not necessarily mean the end of the hacktivists.

    "Computer crime authorities will no doubt be hoping that they have struck a significant blow against the Anonymous and LulzSec hacking groups - but anyone who believes we have heard the last of the hacktivists is probably going to be sourly disappointed," Cluley said in a blog post.

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