- Viral video shows an egg getting a hot makeover Tuesday 7:56 PM
- New Netflix feature broadcasts what you’re watching via Instagram Tuesday 6:11 PM
- Videos show alleged Covington teens harassing women, making rape jokes at march Tuesday 4:13 PM
- MAGA teen gets ‘Today Show’ interview—and people are pissed Tuesday 3:38 PM
- Family says hacker sent fake North Korean missile warning through Nest camera Tuesday 2:42 PM
- This Arizona bill would tax internet porn to fund a border wall Tuesday 2:41 PM
- This meme is asking people how they draw the letter X Tuesday 1:18 PM
- Charlie Kirk’s love of U.S. healthcare system put to the test after back problems Tuesday 1:12 PM
- Fyre Fest caterer who was left broke has received $160,000 in donations Tuesday 12:58 PM
- The YouTuber who taught a dog to give the Nazi salute on command can’t find a job Tuesday 12:24 PM
- The ‘oh yeah yeah’ meme is flooding YouTube—and KSI can’t deal Tuesday 12:20 PM
- Did this d*ck-drawing Instagram star steal her gag from a rival runner? Tuesday 12:00 PM
- Rep. Steve King, best known for his racism, tweets a fake MLK quote Tuesday 11:54 AM
- Facebook is helping husbands ‘brainwash’ their wives with targeted ads Tuesday 11:35 AM
- Twitch streamer Pink_Sparkles responds to gamers who don’t think she belongs Tuesday 11:29 AM
13 alleged Anonymous members indicted for DDoS attacks on Hollywood
A federal grand jury indicted 13 alleged members of the hacker collective for conspiring to intentionally cause damage to protected computers.
On Oct. 3, a federal grand jury indicted 13 alleged members of the hacker collective Anonymous for conspiring to intentionally cause damage to protected computers. Each of them is charged with committing cybercrimes while taking part in Anonymous’ Operation Payback.
Operation Payback originated on 4chan, and involved Anonymous targeting organizations that had lobbied for stricter enforcement of copyright laws online, such as the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA). Some of these same institutions, most of which represent America’s entertainment industry, have previously hired the Indian firm Aiplex Software to privately enforce these laws. This included forcibly shutting down websites that wouldn’t comply by using a denial of service attack. In 2010, the managing director of Aiplex confirmed that Hollywood studios, including 20th Century Fox, had hired the company.
After popular file sharing site the Pirate Bay was attacked, Anonymous retaliated by taking down various entertainment industry websites, including that of the MPAA. In order to accomplish the takedown, Anonymous also used a distributed denial-of-service attack, which is the cause of the recent criminal indictment.
At least one of the defendants, Dennis Collins, is also a member of the PayPal 14, a separate Anonymous group that was previously charged with similar crimes. The 14 allegedly carried out DDoS attacks against eBay-owned online payments site PayPal in 2010, after PayPal blocked donations to whistleblower site WikiLeaks.
The PayPal 14 case remains in limbo. The defendants reportedly tried to negotiate a settlement earlier this year, but no resolution has been reached and no trial date has been set.
Both the PayPal 14 and the Operation Payback defendants were charged under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, called “the worst law in technology” by some activists. It was famously used against Aaron Swartz, a young Internet activist who committed suicide in January 2013 while facing 35 years in prison for downloading academic journals without permission.
DDoS attacks, charged as hacking under the CFAA, are often used as a form of political protest. Earlier this year, Anonymous unsuccessfully petitioned the White House to consider them protected speech acts under the First Amendment. They argue that the law should make a distinction between “hacking” and simple push-button DDoS attacks like the ones in the PayPal and Operation Payback cases, which don’t involve unauthorized access to any data.
In June, two U.S. senators introduced a bill called “Aaron’s Law” in honor of Swartz, with the intention of reforming the CFAA.
Dell Cameron was a reporter at the Daily Dot who covered security and politics. In 2015, he revealed the existence of an American hacker on the U.S. government's terrorist watchlist. He is a co-author of the Sabu Files, an award-nominated investigation into the FBI's use of cyber-informants. He became a staff writer at Gizmodo in 2017.