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Five arrested over Anonymous attacks

UK police say they have arrested five men, aged between 15 and 26, in connection with the online activist group supporting WikiLeaks. Anonymous has also attacked Fine Gael’s site.

Image: Wikimedia Commons via Creative Commons

POLICE IN THE UK HAVE ARRESTED five people in connection with recent web attacks allegedly committed in support of WikiLeaks.

Five men aged 15, 16, 19, 20 and 26 were arrested early today in a coordinated operation in different parts of England.

The UK’s Metropolitan Police said the men had been arrested under the Computer Misuse Act in relation to “recent and ongoing ‘distributed denial of service’ attacks (DDoS) by an online group calling themselves ‘Anonymous’”:

They are part of an ongoing MPS investigation in to Anonymous which began last year following criminal allegations of DDoS attacks by the group against several companies.

The Met’s investigation is being carried out in conjunction with European and American authorities.

Mastercard, Paypal and Amazon were all subject to attacks from the Anonymous group after they withdrew their services to WikiLeaks. The withdrawal of services followed the WikiLeaks release of US diplomatic documents referred to as The Embassy Cables.

Amazon has denied that its services were disrupted by a malicious attack saying its downtime last month was the a result of “hardware failure”.

People claiming to be aligned with Anonymous also attacked the Fine Gael party’s website after it was relaunched earlier this month. The party later confirmed that the details of about 2,000 visitors to its site had been compromised by the security breach.

The group describes itself as a leaderless movement which “has worked tirelessly to oppose all forms of Internet censorship worldwide”. The Irish branch says it is a loosely connected group of “grassroots activists” focused on “exposing” and raising public awareness of Scientology. The group is planning to hold its 37th-consecutive monthly rally in protest of Scientology on 12 February.

Anonymous has posted this video online to explain “why we protest”, claiming its members believe that “free speech is non negotiable”:

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