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Anonymous Attacks ‘Cost PayPal £3.5m’

Alleged Anonymous DDoSer is on trial

On by Thomas Brewster 0

Hacktivist collective Anonymous caused £3.5 million worth of damage for PayPal during an attack motivated by support fo rthe WikiLeaks online whistleblower site, a court has heard.

The claim came to light during a hearing at Southwark Crown Court, where 22-year-old Christopher Weatherhead is facing charges of conspiracy for his alleged part in an attack on PayPal’s website. He has denied the charge, pleading not guilty to conspiring to impair the operation of computers between 1 August 2010 and 22 January 2011 – a period during which PayPal and other finance sites came under attack from Anonymous, because they cut off WikiLeaks’ funding.

Three other men have already pleaded guilty to the charge. Sandip Patel, prosecuting, alleged the hackers had caused “enormous economic harm” to the eBay-owned company, according to the BBC.

PayPal attacks

He claimed the attackers moved to PayPal after it stopped accepting payments on behalf of WikiLeaks, following the whistleblowing site’s publication of US embassy communications. Patel said the attacks started after PayPal started rejecting payments for the Wau Holland Foundation, which was handling donations to WikiLeaks.

“This case, simply put, is about hackers who used the internet to attack and disable computer systems – colloquially described as cyber-attackers or vandals,” he said. Patel said distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks caused the damage.

DDoS attacks can cost firms millions, particularly those who make the majority of their money from Internet services. TechWeekEurope has heard of cases where online gambling firms have paid hackers hundreds of thousands of pounds to avoid

It’s believed Anonymous has now distanced itself from WikiLeaks, after the whistleblower site, created by Julian Assange, decided to put some of its content behind a paywall to encourage donations.

That hasn’t stopped it targeting PayPal, however. The group’s Guy Fawkes Day attacks saw the group claim a hit on PayPal, although the payments firm said it had not found any evidence customer data had been pilfered.

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Thomas Brewster
Author: Thomas Brewster
Security Correspondent, TechWeekEurope
Thomas Brewster Thomas Brewster Thomas Brewster

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