Anonymous PayPal hacktivists plead guilty to 2010 cyber attack

Thirteen people associated with hacktivist group Anonymous have pleaded guilty to a cyber attack on PayPal’s website in 2010.

The group, composed of 11 men and two women, admitted attacking the website after it suspended the WikiLeaks PayPal account by carrying out co-ordinated distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks.

Ten of the group pleaded guilty to felony charge that can be dropped to a misdemeanour before sentencing as long as the defendants don’t violate the terms of an agreement with the Attorney’s Office.

The other three defendants pleaded guilty to misdemeanour charges.

The news follows the imprisonment at the beginning of 2013 of two people in London who were convicted of taking part in the PayPal attack.

Christopher Weatherhead, 22, was jailed for 18 months and 28-year-old Ashley Rhodes received a seven-month prison term.

Prosecutors in the trial of Weatherhead said that the attack cost PayPal $5.5m in loss of trading because the firm had to update software to prevent similar attacks.

In November, another Anonymous hacktivist, Jeremy Hammond, was handed a 10-year prison sentence in the US after releasing millions of emails relating to private intelligence firm Stratfor.

Anonymous is the umbrella name given to a worldwide group of computer hackers. The group has different facets and is relatively unstructured, with members grouping together to address various issues of interest to them.