Teen Charged in Anonymous Hacks Is Latest in Series of Arrests

/ Source: SecurityNewsDaily

British police have arrested a teenage boy in connection with the hacking group Anonymous' series of coordinated online attacks.

The 17-year-old from Chester, England, who has not been named, is set to appear in court on Sept. 7 to face charges that he conspired to disrupt and take down websites by launching denial-of-service online attacks.

According to a press release from Britain's Metropolitan Police Department, the teen was charged yesterday (Aug. 30), with "conspiracy to do an unauthorized act in relation to a computer, with intent to impair the operation of any computer or prevent or hinder access to any programme or data held in a computer or to impair the operation of any such programmer or the reliability of such data."

The "unauthorized" part of the charges could refer to any of the organized website hacks and defacements Anonymous and its splinter group, LulzSec, have taken credit for, including ones launched against the websites of Sony's PlayStation Store, the Central Intelligence Agency, Fox Broadcast Network, the U.S. Senate, PBS, the Arizona Department of Public Safety and the controversial Westboro Baptist Church.

Joining the unnamed teen in court on Sept. 7 will be Peter David Gibson, 22, who was charged on Aug. 25 with the same offense.

Gibson and the unnamed teen are the latest in a growing group of suspected Anonymous participants to be rounded up by British law enforcement.

On July 27, Metropolitan police arrested 19-year-old Jake Davis in the Shetland Islands; on June 20, Ryan Cleary, 19, was arrested in Essex, England, for orchestrating some of Anonymous' biggest hits, including a denial-of-service attack against the website of Britain's Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA).

On July 19, the FBI arrested 16 hackers in 11 states for allegedly attacking PayPal's website last December as part of Anonymous' "Operation Avenge Assange."