Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Risk

Anonymous Boycotts PayPal, Arrest Fallout Continues

Alleged hacker arrested in FBI sting on PayPal attacks faces Internet ban, while hacktivist group calls for PayPal boycott.

Prosecutors are seeking to block a man--accused of participating in Anonymous-led attacks against PayPal's website--from having access to the Internet.

The defendant in question, Christopher Wayne Cooper, 23, aka "Anthrophobic," had agreed to "the installation of computer monitoring software by the FBI on all personal computers," according to a motion filed last week under the auspices of Kenyen R. Brown, the United States attorney for the southern district of Alabama.

But in its motion, the U.S. Attorney's Office sought a change in course, saying that its previous approach was infeasible. "Because there is no practical method for appropriately monitoring the defendant's computer usage, the United States requests that the conditions of release be modified to require that the defendant not use or have access to the Internet or any Internet-capable device."

According to the motion, "while the FBI has the capability to monitor computer activity, such tools and techniques are neither approved nor appropriate for use in the context of monitoring a defendant on pretrial release as contemplated by the court's order."

The U.S. Attorney's Office said the mix-up had to do with differing trial procedures between Alabama and California. According to the motion, "the request and representations made during the initial hearing were passed along from the lead prosecutors and agents in California, where pretrial procedures differ substantially from those in this district." Cooper has been ordered to appear in federal court in California on September 1, to face charges filed there.

Cooper was one of 14 people arrested by FBI agents on July 19 on charges relating to an Anonymous-led effort aimed at disrupting PayPal's website via distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks. That same day, authorities also announced the arrest of two other people, one on charges of funneling to LulzSec documents describing AT&T's forthcoming wireless network rollout. The other was charged with hacking into the Tampa Bay InfraGard website and uploading three files.

While the use of monitoring software is highly controversial, courts have upheld Internet access bans for defendants, even for extended periods of time, according to Kaspersky Lab's Threatpost.

Anonymous, via its Operation Payback and a DDoS tool dubbed Low Orbit Ion Cannon, has been sporadically attacking PayPal's website in retaliation for its ceasing to accept donations to WikiLeaks. But while the Anonymous attacks generated headlines, security experts said that they had little effect against targeted businesses.

Now, according to Wired.com, FBI investigators are working their way through a list, provided by PayPal, of the 1,000 IP addresses that generated the most DDoS traffic against the PayPal website. The 14 arrests apparently stem from that PayPal-provided information.

To date, the FBI's arrests--security experts said only low-level or mid-level participants appear to have been arrested--don't seem to have stopped Anonymous, despite the threat of charges involving up to 15 years of jail time and a $500,000 fine. In fact, Anonymous has recently called for a boycott of PayPal. "You sue our people for $500.000 ... it'll take you years to get a fraction of that. Let us show you what we can do in one day," said a message posted to an Anonymous Twitter feed.

In a statement posted to Pastebin on Wednesday, signed in the name of Anonymous, AntiSec, and LulzSec (which appears to be defunct), the group also criticized the arrests. "What the FBI needs to learn is that there is a vast difference between adding one's voice to a chorus and digital sit-in with Low Orbit Ion Cannon, and controlling a large botnet of infected computers. And yet both of these are punishable with exactly the same fine and sentence."

Read our report on how to guard your systems from a SQL attack. Download the report now. (Free registration required.)

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
News
Inside the Ransomware Campaigns Targeting Exchange Servers
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  4/2/2021
Commentary
Beyond MITRE ATT&CK: The Case for a New Cyber Kill Chain
Rik Turner, Principal Analyst, Infrastructure Solutions, Omdia,  3/30/2021
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
2021 Top Enterprise IT Trends
We've identified the key trends that are poised to impact the IT landscape in 2021. Find out why they're important and how they will affect you today!
Flash Poll
How Enterprises are Developing Secure Applications
How Enterprises are Developing Secure Applications
Recent breaches of third-party apps are driving many organizations to think harder about the security of their off-the-shelf software as they continue to move left in secure software development practices.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2021-21392
PUBLISHED: 2021-04-12
Synapse is a Matrix reference homeserver written in python (pypi package matrix-synapse). Matrix is an ecosystem for open federated Instant Messaging and VoIP. In Synapse before version 1.28.0 requests to user provided domains were not restricted to external IP addresses when transitional IPv6 addre...
CVE-2021-21393
PUBLISHED: 2021-04-12
Synapse is a Matrix reference homeserver written in python (pypi package matrix-synapse). Matrix is an ecosystem for open federated Instant Messaging and VoIP. In Synapse before version 1.28.0 Synapse is missing input validation of some parameters on the endpoints used to confirm third-party identif...
CVE-2021-29429
PUBLISHED: 2021-04-12
In Gradle before version 7.0, files created with open permissions in the system temporary directory can allow an attacker to access information downloaded by Gradle. Some builds could be vulnerable to a local information disclosure. Remote files accessed through TextResourceFactory are downloaded in...
CVE-2021-21394
PUBLISHED: 2021-04-12
Synapse is a Matrix reference homeserver written in python (pypi package matrix-synapse). Matrix is an ecosystem for open federated Instant Messaging and VoIP. In Synapse before version 1.28.0 Synapse is missing input validation of some parameters on the endpoints used to confirm third-party identif...
CVE-2021-22497
PUBLISHED: 2021-04-12
Advanced Authentication versions prior to 6.3 SP4 have a potential broken authentication due to improper session management issue.