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Fifth-grader pleads guilty for role in Anonymous attack

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Parents who worry their kids are accessing porn on the Internet may have a new concern on their hands: whether their little hackers have joined Anonymous.

That’s what one father had to contend with Thursday when he accompanied his fifth grader to court, where he pleaded guilty to three counts of hacking, dressed in his school uniform.

The 12-year-old aided Anonymous in its efforts to bring numerous government sites to a standstill during major Quebec student protests in May of 2012. The backlash against tuition hikes lasted for three months before turning digital and included massive street protests in Montreal, one of which was attended by over 300,000 people. The digital component of the protests only came after the Canadian government proposed an emergency bill to limit street protests in the wake of the uprisings.

In response, Anonymous took down websites like the the National Assembly of Quebec, for over two days. The government estimated the damages at over $60,000. The Toronto Sun reports that the 12-year-old had a full arsenal of cyberweapons at his disposal: the ability to launch distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks on websites, the ability to deface a website’s homepage, and the ability to access secure databases.

That’s pretty impressive for a kid who reportedly began hacking when he was 9. According to the Toronto Sun, the boy traded Anonymous pirated personal information in exchange for video games. 

"It's easy to hack but do not go there too much, they will track you down," the fifth-grader reportedly advised other hackers.

While defacing government websites, however, the words of Anonymous were much harsher:

The SPVM [Montreal Police Service] have tormented the people of Montreal continuously, using physical violence to club us into submission, using sexual violence to intimidate and dominate, using ethnicity, race, sexuality, gender and political beliefs to suppress the voices of our city.... The time has come to take back our streets, to demand justice for the people of this city, of this province and of Canada. We demand a public enquiry....

As you have taken our identities, we now take yours.

You have forgotten your actions not only reflect onto you as a Police Officer, but also reflect on you as a person; in uniform, and outside of your uniform, you will be judged.

While other hackers were arrested during the investigation into the digital strikes, the 12-year-old is one of the youngest. His lawyer argued that since he was only 11 at the time of the hackings “there was no political purpose,” but the court may feel differently at his sentencing next month. 

H/T Naked Security | Illustration by Jason Reed