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Scotland Yard Has Been After Anonymous for Months

Scotland Yard has confirmed it has been investigating Anonymous since before the WikiLeaks wars broke out

On by Tom Jowitt 9

The Metropolitan police has been investigating Internet vigilante group Anonymous, since well before its current online reprisals against companies not supporting WikiLeaks.

“Earlier this year, the Metropolitan police service received a number of allegations of denial of service cyber attacks againat several companies by a group calling itself Anonymous,” a police spokesman told eWEEK Europe UK. “We are investigating these criminal allegations and our investigation is ongoing.”

“The Metropolitan police service is monitoring the situation in relation to recent and ongoing denial of service attacks, and will investigate where appropriate,” the spokesman added.

Cyber Unit Involved

The spokesman also confirmed to eWEEK Europe UK that the investigation is being conducted by Scotland Yard’s ‘specialist crime directorate’, which includes the Metropolitan Police Central e-Crime Unit (PceU).

Earlier this year, Metropolitan Police commissioner Paul Stephenson revealed a worrying lack of resources at PceU, and admitted that it was only able to deal with a tenth of the known criminals that regularly use computers for illegal purposes.

Scotland Yard’s reference to the distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks by Anonymous earlier this year, could refer to when that group of hackers’ Operation Payback hit the law firm Gallant Macmillan and its client, Ministry of Sound in October. Both firms were targeted after they sued for the details of PlusNet subscribers who may have downloaded music illegally.

In November Anonymous appears to have taken down the website of the International Federation of Phonographic Industry (IFPI) as revenge for the legal action against The Pirate Bay. The three founders of The Pirate Bay lost their appeals in a copyright infringement case in late November.

Wikileaks Furore

All this has paled into insigificance as a fierce cyber war was triggered by WikiLeaks supporters (including Anonymous) that brought down the websites of PayPal and Mastercard after they stopped processing payments for the whistleblowing site after it published leaks of classified US diplomatic cables.

According to national security advisor Sir Peter Ricketts, there are fears that WikiLeaks supporters may attack government sites, such as The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) and HM Revenues and Customs (HMRC), following the arrest of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in the UK, on a European arrest warrant issued in Sweden.

Assange has been granted bail but remains in prison pending an appeal hearing against the bail, which is due today.

Assange has distanced himself from these attacks, and supporters have extended their attacks from websites to a rather old fashioned alternative, namely the fax machines of the companies who have withdrawn services from Wikileaks.

Tom Jowitt
Author: Tom Jowitt
Freelance TechWeek Reporter
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9 replies to Scotland Yard Has Been After Anonymous for Months

  • On December 16, 2010 at 11:49 pm by Anonymous

    Anonymous is a concept, not a “hacker group”. There is no one to go after. Scotland Yard is clearly way behind on the whole “anonymous” thing , and is obviously trying to make themselves look good by saying they have been going after them for awhile.

  • On December 17, 2010 at 1:17 am by User

    They could start by going after everyone in /b/ on 4chan.

  • On December 17, 2010 at 4:42 am by NotATarget

    @Anonymous – 12-16-2010/2349: There are LOTS of people to go after. Anyone who was dumb enough to use the LOIC without spoofing their IP will be getting a visit in the next couple of years.

    All that data is stored. And since it was an attack, it will be considered a criminal investigation, which means it’ll be stored for 20 years or more.

    There’s going to be a LOT of pimply teens getting a shock.

  • On December 17, 2010 at 5:12 am by Anon

    ^^That guy is the ringleader, the head honcho, the final boss of the internet also known as the leader of anonymous.
    And we should all beware of their actions, they might go as far even to show up in your cities to hang around scientology centers with guy fawkes masks for a good 20minutes or so to take pictures before it all manifests itself in a mcdonalds and videogaem fueld frenzy that might end up in exess data beeing sendt to servers resulting in servers having to restart, potentialy delete system32.
    trust me these guys are super duper scary 130pound pale guys! not to be fucked with!

  • On December 17, 2010 at 6:17 am by Crassus

    @Anonymous
    “Scotland Yard is clearly way behind on the whole “anonymous” thing.”

    I wouldn’t be so sure. Apparently they are about to arrest Spartacus too!

  • On December 17, 2010 at 8:32 pm by Jeffrey A. Williams

    Good to know that Scottland Yard is on the job/hunt here. But I think they are hunting down a shadow as this is not a organized group, but a very loosely affiliated and non-affiliated movement that has no actual leadership or structure in the traditional sense.

  • On December 21, 2010 at 11:05 pm by Anonymous

    There is no leader, and at the same time, they are all leaders. Anonymous is a hive where every bee is a queen and every bee is a worker.

    Scotland Yard will be wasting it’s energy by targeting a leadership that doesn’t exist. They and the public are much better off if Scotland Yard channels it’s resources towards real criminals – i.e. terrorists, human slave traders, rapists, pedophiles, white-collar fraudsters, etc. – and not teens and young adults attending a digital sit-in.

  • On December 22, 2010 at 7:31 pm by wethertisnobler

    Not just Scotland Yard is way behind, the journalists are just too slow or old (no offence meant) to comprehend that a) Anonymous is not a hacker group, but an idea of freedom alive in many, many people with different views and strategies, that b) dDos is not hacking, and that c) Anonymous didn’t dDos, only a _small part_ of Anonymous did. I’m an Anon too – yet I haven’t the slightest clue on how to dDos. And I’m not planning on learning how, because it’s illegal.

  • On December 28, 2010 at 2:38 am by Jon Glen

    Anonymous is an experiment run by DARPA. Look up the “Cult of the Dead Cow” for more info. Julian Assange and Mudge know one another.

    From what I can tell they are studying crowd dynamics of which most of the dim-wits (Anonymous) haven’t a clue. They just attack whom they are told to attack, or who they think it’s “cool” to attack.

    Ultimately the whole thing is designed to convince the public to give up more control and personal freedoms, to fight another non-existent enemy.

    They (Mudge, Assange, and ?) will probably recommend the U.S. Government needs to add retinal scanners or finger print scanners or some other BS … to every logon terminal (your PC).

    Another fight against a non-existent enemy.

    I’m tired of them all. I say let them ALL rot in HELL.

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