British police have arrested five people for their alleged participation in some of the highly publicized DDoS attacks last month. The five individuals – all males, between the ages of 15 and 26 – were arrested after a series of raids in the West Midlands, Northamptonshire, Herfordshire, Surrey and London.
The five are being held on suspicion of being involved in Anonymous, the loose affiliation of so-called hacktivists who have targeted a number of websites, including MasterCard, Visa and PayPal, with distributed denial of service attacks. These attacks followed WikiLeaks’ release of U.S. diplomatic cables in late November, and were aimed to punish companies who’d shut down WikiLeaks’ access to financial resources.
According to Scotland Yard, the arrests are part of an ongoing investigation into Anonymous: “This investigation is being carried out in conjunction with international law enforcement agencies in Europe and the U.S.” DDoS attacks are illegal in the U.K. under the Computer Misuse Act.
These aren’t the first arrests associated with Anonymous. Two Dutch teens were arrested shortly following the initial spate of attacks, and although no arrests have yet been announced from it, the FBI raided a Texas-based Web host in late December seeking more information about Anonymous activity.
Recently, Anonymous has aimed its attacks on government websites in Tunisia, Egypt and Zimbabwe, in response to political uprisings there.