The FBI today said it executed more than 40 search warrants throughout the United States as part of an ongoing investigation into the recent retaliation cyber attacks against companies that cut off services to Wikileaks against major companies and organizations.
According to an IDG News Service report and the FBI, the actions come after Anonymous knocked websites for MasterCard, Visa and others offline briefly by recruiting volunteers to target them with a network stress-testing tool called LOIC (Low Orbit Ion Cannon). LOIC flooded the sites with data, making them unable to serve legitimate visitors. This type of attack is called a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack. Anonymous has also targeted PayPal, Amazon and the websites of Sarah Palin and the Swedish Prosecutor's Office with these attacks.
The FBI used the occasion to remind the public that facilitating or conducting a DDoS attack is illegal, punishable by up to 10 years in prison, as well as exposing participants to significant civil liability.
The FBI said it s working closely with its international law enforcement partners and others to mitigate these threats. Authorities in the Netherlands, Germany, and France have also taken their own investigative and enforcement actions.
Also today, the United Kingdom's Metropolitan Police Service executed additional search warrants and arrested five people for their alleged role in the attacks.
According to Reuters: "Officers from a specialist London police unit dealing with online crime detained the five males, aged from 15 to 26, in raids at homes in central and southern England. Dutch police last month arrested two teenagers suspected of involvement in the online campaign. They face trial later this year."
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