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updated 3/14/2011 2:14:10 PM ET 2011-03-14T18:14:10

The United States government is taking a serious stab at uncovering the identities behind the online hacking collective known as Anonymous.

Beginning Feb. 10, a federal grand jury in San Jose, Calif., will be presented with evidence collected by the FBI about Anonymous, the loosely based hacking group that in December launched mass denial-of-service attacks against PayPal, MasterCard, ebay and Visa in retaliation for those companies’ refusal to process payments to WikiLeaks.

Anonymous has since set its sights on the government websites of Tunisia and Egypt.

The trove of evidence presented to the grand jury will include computer and mobile phones seized from the group’s suspected leaders in a series of multi-state raids Jan. 27, according to a report on  Bloomberg.com today (Feb. 8).

FBI agents served a grand jury subpoena to a California man who goes by the online name of “Trivette”; the court is demanding that he turn over information showing how the denial-of-service attacks were carried out.

It will be interesting to see how the government’s probing into Anonymous’ inner workings plays out, as the group is notorious for enacting swift and damaging retaliation when meddled with.

Just three days ago, the Financial Times reported that Aaron Barr, a security researcher, claimed he had identified the members of Anonymous and would reveal them at a security conference.

Within 24 hours, Barr’s digital profile was essentially destroyed: Anonymous members brought down his company’s website, hacked into his Twitter account and posted his Social Security number, home address and cell phone number, posted a link to 50,000 of his personal e-mails, and even defaced the LinkedIn profile of his boss.

 

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