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FBI agents arrested 16 people total yesterday for participating in major cyber attacks

Recent hacks on governments and large corporations have placed a spotlight on internet security and its importance. These hacks have also made people around the world wonder who could have launched such high-profile attacks, and yesterday, U.S. authorities were able to answer that question with the arrest of 16 individuals. 

FBI agents arrested 16 people yesterday for participating in major cyber attacks. Fourteen of those arrested had allegedly participated in the cyber attack against PayPal back in December. 

Last year, PayPal, MasterCard and Visa had cut ties with Wikileaks after the website publicized thousands of secret U.S. diplomatic reports, which caused tension between Washington and allies. In response, hackers launched "denial-of-service" attacks, which bombarded the companies' websites with requests for information. This caused the companies' websites to be unable to tend to legitimate customers. In fact, PayPal felt the heat of the cyber blast for several days last December. 

December's attack, which was allegedly coordinated by the hacking group Anonymous, among others, had led to a federal investigation of epic proportions. U.S. authorities released over 35 search warrants around the country in order to find those behind the cyber attacks. The FBI and the Justice Department had been under pressure to find these people after such high-profile attacks, and public taunting from hacking groups did not help.

Now, FBI agents were able to arrest 14 individuals associated with the PayPal cyber attack. These individuals were located in nine states and Washington D.C. These states were Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, California, Florida, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Nevada and Ohio. They ranged in age from 20 to 42. 

The fifteenth arrest occurred in New Mexico where an employee for a contractor for AT&T's wireless service had allegedly downloaded thousands of documents associated with its LTE broadband network and 4G data network. The final arrest occurred in Florida, where a man was charged with illegally accessing Tampa Bay Infragard's website as well as uploading malicious files. 

"It does look like some of these guys were just fools. The PayPal attack in particular," said Stewart Baker, a former top official of the Homeland Security Department who is now with the law firm Steptoe and Johnson LLP. "It looks like these bozos must have just said, 'Cool, an attack on PayPal. You can use my machine."

The Justice Department and FBI consider this a major victory since hackers can be difficult to identify if their location is masked, and hope to continue locating other high-profile hackers around the country.

"The fact that they have been tracked back and that some of them have been arrested is a significant development," said Mark Rasch, former chief of the Justice Department's cyber crimes unit who is now director of Cybersecurity and Privacy Consulting for government technology services firm CSC.

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By th3pwn3r on 7/20/2011 10:13:41 AM , Rating: 1
They're just satisfying the wants of people looking for "justice" against these "hackers". This should keep a few people happy until the next big attack happens. Oh wait, this occurred in December there have been and will be plenty of attacks to come. The article also states that these guys were "fools", good luck catching the smart guys if it took you this long to catch the fools.

RE: Heh
By tng on 7/20/2011 10:26:54 AM , Rating: 2
The article also states that these guys were "fools", good luck catching the smart guys if it took you this long to catch the fools.
Fools do stupid things, that is why they are called fools. If the "smart" guys are really smart, they gave the fools no way that they can be traced through anything that the fools had.....

RE: Heh
By DanNeely on 7/20/2011 10:36:07 AM , Rating: 3
Yeah most of these people look like they were just LOIC running patsy's; but one of the lulzsec hackers (Tflow) found out his anonymization wasn't as good as he thought yesterday when London's cops showed up at his door.

RE: Heh
By karielash on 7/20/11, Rating: -1
RE: Heh
By michael67 on 7/21/2011 8:20:29 AM , Rating: 2
Frakking DTs anti spam function wont let me post a reaction because it to big >_<


Some concerns
By Donovan on 7/20/2011 10:37:58 AM , Rating: 4
While the arrests they gave details on seem reasonable, the original article makes me question what the majority of the arrests are for:

"It looks like these bozos must have just said 'Cool, an attack on PayPal. You can use my machine.'"

If most of these arrests were people who downloaded LOIC to their own PC then it was a waste of FBI resources. One could even question whether sending an excess of packets to someone is a crime, but regardless it is the people commanding botnets and breaking into systems they should be focused on.

There were some other quotes from the original article that concerned me:

The Justice Department and FBI have been under pressure to crack down on hackers who have stepped up their attacks on corporate and government websites in the past several months in a bid to thwart their activities.

Stopping some DDoS script kiddies isn't going to magically make corporate and government networks secure from break-in.

Stewart Baker, a former top official of the Homeland Security Department, said the FBI probably gave the case extra attention because of the public taunting the bureau received from Anonymous and related groups.

This is arguably one of the worst reasons for law enforcement to arrest someone.

RE: Some concerns
By ViroMan on 7/20/2011 2:33:38 PM , Rating: 2
Your right, it is a bad reason to make arrests but, it takes heat off there arse and passes it on to the ones they arrested.

Kids..... Learn plz/
By Anonfailz on 7/20/2011 10:25:12 AM , Rating: 3
LOL they dont just go arrest people kids. They take their time and investigate. So they get the job done. Drug busts can take years. They make sure they get all involved. Use your heads please. LAWL.

By runutz on 7/20/2011 10:18:11 AM , Rating: 2
Ergo the claim they "got" anybody is erroneous.

By fbiissilly on 7/20/11, Rating: -1
RE: why?
By Uncle on 7/20/2011 12:56:56 PM , Rating: 2
"If your not part of the solution then your part of the problem" Then the arguments start because of "Who's side of the fence are you on." I'm with having the people getting back what they have slowly been losing over the years, the right to decide things for themselves and to have government working for the people again. I asked my kids a question the other day to keep them thinking."What has the government done for you as an individual in the last twenty years to better your life today and in the future.""What has the government taken away from you in the last twenty years that affects you now and into your future."

"Nowadays, security guys break the Mac every single day. Every single day, they come out with a total exploit, your machine can be taken over totally. I dare anybody to do that once a month on the Windows machine." -- Bill Gates

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