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Police Arrest Five Over Anonymous Attacks 295

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the ddos-is-bad-mmkay dept.
nk497 writes "Five people have been arrested in the UK, accused of taking part in Anonymous' DDOS attacks in support of WikiLeaks. The five men — aged from 15 to 26 — are still being held by police for questioning. Met Police said the investigation was a collaborative effort between forces in the UK, EU and the US."
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Police Arrest Five Over Anonymous Attacks

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  • Well Duh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by abigsmurf (919188) on Thursday January 27, 2011 @10:40AM (#35019614)
    The protection this tool offered was designed around the fact that so many people were using it, it'd be impossible to arrest them all. This kinda falls down when there may be 500 Americans on it but just 10 Brits and you're one of the 10.

    Also kinda ironic attacking people's freedom to do business with who they want in the name of protecting free speech.
    • Re:Well Duh (Score:5, Insightful)

      by thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [esidarap.cram]> on Thursday January 27, 2011 @10:53AM (#35019764) Homepage Journal

      Also kinda ironic attacking people's freedom to do business with who they want in the name of protecting free speech.

      The word for that isn't irony, it's hypocrisy.

      • by abigsmurf (919188)
        It's ironic too. Trying to enforce free speech through the restriction of it.
      • by Yvanhoe (564877)
        Well, the idea is that you don't deserve freedoms you deny to others. Usually governments do this kind of balance and give fines or prison time. When the government fails, someone has to do something.
    • Re:Well Duh (Score:4, Insightful)

      by HungryHobo (1314109) on Thursday January 27, 2011 @10:57AM (#35019820)

      "Also kinda ironic attacking people's freedom to do business with who they want in the name of protecting free speech."

      some people also protest against companies which help repressive governments with things like the censorship in iran and the great firewall of china.
      There's no particular irony here.

      It disrupts their freedom to do buisness with who they want no more than picketing the entrance to a store disrupts their freedom to do buisness with who they want.

      • Re:Well Duh (Score:4, Insightful)

        by ToasterMonkey (467067) on Thursday January 27, 2011 @12:28PM (#35020986) Homepage

        "Also kinda ironic attacking people's freedom to do business with who they want in the name of protecting free speech."

        some people also protest against companies which help repressive governments with things like the censorship in iran and the great firewall of china.
        There's no particular irony here.

        It disrupts their freedom to do buisness with who they want no more than picketing the entrance to a store disrupts their freedom to do buisness with who they want.

        Except it's illegal to block the entrance/exits.
        You've really got to have a screw loose to see DDoS as picketing.

        • I don't see it as picketing, I see it as potentially just another form of non-violent protest.
          It's not that much of a strech.
          Sit-ins are also illegal yet they're also valid forms of protest.

      • by poity (465672)

        I wouldn't say it's the same as picketing. When picketing, people who pass by are made aware of the protesters' dispute and their side of the story, but are still free to pass and conduct business. The picketers are there to dissuade rather than to physically impede. DDoS attacks are not like this, since it effectively puts a locked fence around the business. For a internet equivalent to picketing one could consider a concerted effort into SEO for a website that tells the story of injustice, so that when a

        • This is what VWvortex users did to Arizona Parking Solutions.

          I can't find a good summary of the story so I'll try to make one.

          A broke student on VWvortex (VW car forum) got his car booted on a technicality while at some college campus. He had no chance in hell of paying it. But what he could do was wheel his car back into his garage on dollies. Pics and updates were posted all along, and there was much rejoicing.

          The company that handled the parking lots for the campus was Arizona Parking Solutions. They als

    • Re:Well Duh (Score:5, Insightful)

      by serviscope_minor (664417) on Thursday January 27, 2011 @11:00AM (#35019846) Journal

      oh, yes, isn't it so "ironic" that they're attacking business who are complicit in the government's attempt to circumvent the first amendment by pressuring businesses to "voluntarily" do the censorship for them.

      Next, you'll be complaining it's kinda ironic that they're attaching the freedom of the government to ride roughshod over the consitition.

      My god, the freedom! Where will it ever end!

      • Re:Well Duh (Score:5, Insightful)

        by abigsmurf (919188) on Thursday January 27, 2011 @11:12AM (#35020020)
        The businesses did not perform censorship. They have the right to do business with who they want (except if they're covered by discrimination laws). Wikileaks haven't been prevented from saying anything by them.

        If I'm a shop keeper and I refuse to put a pro-life or a pro-abortion poster in my window am I engaging in censorship?

        Wikileaks can still leak all they want, Visa can come out and say they don't like wikileaks and/or refuse to deal with them.
        • Re: (Score:2, Redundant)

          by Yvanhoe (564877)
          They broke a contract with a client with no valid reason and with the intent to hurt them. It is illegal, this is not a lawful way of doing business. Wikileaks will probably attack them.
          • by godefroi (52421)

            You have a citation for that? What contract did they break? I'll bet there's a clause in there that allowed them to break it.

          • What contract? I'm just curious, this isn't a flame post. If Visa did indeed sign some kind of contract stating they would provide credit card service for X number of years, then yes there's a problem. Otherwise, if nothing was signed stating such a thing, I don't see any laws being broken. IANAL, so if I'm wrong someone please tell me.
          • by Americano (920576)

            It is not illegal. It is not unlawful.

            It is, in fact, quite typical to see businesses post a sign indicating that "we reserve the right to refuse service to anyone."

            They are not OBLIGATED to serve you. They are not OBLIGATED to provide you with a platform and distribution channel for your free speech. Business patronage is voluntary - would you be slamming Wikileaks if they had purchased service from Amazon, and then Wikileaks decided that some other service was better suited for their needs, and stopped

            • by Yvanhoe (564877)
              Well that kind of clause is abusive. In France that means that you can safely sign such a contract, the law protects you from it being applied, even if you signed the contract. Here is a link another poster gave : http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2010/12/mastercard-visa-licenses-revoked-iceland-wikileaks/ [rawstory.com]

              They very well be banned to operate in Iceland over this.
              • by Americano (920576)

                Patronizing a business is not "signing a contract". There were no contractual obligations between Amazon and Wikileaks. There MAY have been contractual obligations between MC/Visa and the local Icelandic company that handled processing for them - and if there is, I'm sure a suit for breach of contract will help them recoup their losses and damages.

                Let's also be very clear about this: Wikileaks violated at least the copyright clause of the Amazon Web Services Terms of Use [amazon.com]. The leaked documents are not th

                • "A broad "you can't refuse to provide services to anybody who demands it" ruling simply isn't sustainable."

                  yes?
                  and?
                  a company which uses sweatshop labour may not be breaking the local laws in the 3rd world country where they're doing buisness or breaking any contracts yet people still have every right to protest their actions.
                  And depending where you live there can be a lot of limits to your right to refuse service.
                  if you just refuse service to all black people or gay people you can end up in hot water in som

      • oh, yes, isn't it so "ironic" that they're attacking business who are complicit in the government's attempt to circumvent the first amendment by pressuring businesses to "voluntarily" do the censorship for them.

        Next, you'll be complaining it's kinda ironic that they're attaching the freedom of the government to ride roughshod over the consitition.

        My god, the freedom! Where will it ever end!

        I'm not the OP but commenting on the irony of a thing is not the same as complaining about it. Reading all that extra motivation and content into a remark is what creates a false controversy. "Straw man" is the logic fallacy involved.

      • oh, yes, isn't it so "ironic" that they're attacking business who are complicit in the government's attempt to circumvent the first amendment by pressuring businesses to "voluntarily" do the censorship for them.

        Next, you'll be complaining it's kinda ironic that they're attaching the freedom of the government to ride roughshod over the consitition.

        My god, the freedom! Where will it ever end!

        Even if I were to grant that everything you said is 100% accurate, it is simply not effective to protest restrictions of free speech by restricting free speech. The DDOS attacks in Wikileak's name did far more to damage the public perception of Wikileaks than it did in denying electronic services to the targets.

    • by dunezone (899268)

      The protection this tool offered was designed around the fact that so many people were using it, it'd be impossible to arrest them all. This kinda falls down when there may be 500 Americans on it but just 10 Brits and you're one of the 10.

      Even if that number increased their would still be chance of being caught. This is the same thing with the RIAA lawsuits. They couldn't sue everyone but they could sue enough people into scaring the common folk into using legitimate services. This would scare some to not even chance it because they could get caught. Now the difference is that some of these people are savvy enough to find ways to prevent themselves from being caught. Just like with the RIAA, those savvy enough could find alternate sources t

    • Also kinda ironic attacking people's freedom to do business with who they want in the name of protecting free speech.

      Also ironic that stopping people's ability to hinder that business could be considered protecting free speech... It goes both ways, really.

      I personally don't think free speech has anything to do with it. Supporting Wikileaks does not necessarily mean that you banner behind the motto "Free speech". If thats what the 15 year olds were shouting, well, all the power to them.

    • by Tim C (15259)

      More to the point, while they can't arrest everyone (although as you say if there are few enough, then they can) they certainly can pick a bunch and arrest them to make an example of them.

    • by wisty (1335733)

      It's also kinda ironic that despite them belonging to "Anonymous", all of them just happen to be boys aged 15-25.

    • This is not simply about the DDoS, these guys are being made an example of.

      Every police investigation and judicial action related to Wikileaks, from Bradly Manning "Hannibal Lecter"-like punitive detention to Assange's no charge house arrest to this recent (and amazingly fast) wave of DDOS arrests, everything linked to Wikileaks has been given "special priority".

      It warms my heart to see US, UK and EU law enforcement agencies and governments working hand in hand this way. If only they would show that
  • Lame (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MrL0G1C (867445) on Thursday January 27, 2011 @10:42AM (#35019628) Journal
    So they sit on there arses while billions of pounds of financial cybercrimes are committed, trillions of spam sent, and then arrest some 15 year old for hurling a few packets in the name of free speech - fucking lame.
    • I'm pretty sure that they are working on those other crimes, too (well not the spam - that's not a crime in all jurisdictions) but the people perpetrating are a bit more savvy than the teenagers in this case.

      And DDoS attacks in support of WikiLeaks makes about as much sense as setting fire to puppies to protest budget cuts to the ASCPA.

    • Re:Lame (Score:5, Insightful)

      by abigsmurf (919188) on Thursday January 27, 2011 @10:47AM (#35019678)
      Using a tool designed to silence people you disagree with or dislike cannot be described as doing something 'in the name of free speech'.
      • which would make sense if they actually silenced them.

        they disrupted their buisness, which is pretty much the point of any non-violent protest against a buisness and it's practices.

      • Also, to the ones calling the cops "lazy fucks going after the low-hanging fruit" - consider the situation as these people being the only ones they realistically *can* catch.
      • Re:Lame (Score:5, Insightful)

        by symes (835608) on Thursday January 27, 2011 @11:19AM (#35020096) Journal

        It was a protest. Short lived, fairly effective (in that it raised awareness of their issue) and no one got hurt. If these same people took to the streets with megaphones, stood outside Barclays and shouted their message out as loudly as they could, most likely the police would turn up and ask them to move along and that would be that. We worry that kids are not engaging in politics and then arrest them when they voice concern - pffft, it is a crazy world.

        • by Americano (920576)

          Actually, they might be arrested if they were standing on Barclay's property and refused to move. That's trespass. Barclay can't stop you from protesting on public property outside their office, but they certainly aren't obligated to provide you with a space in which to protest.

          Much like they can't stop you for putting up a website that's (truthfully - libel would be a separate issue) critical of them and their business practices, but they don't have to provide you with a hosting server & bandwidth to

        • Re:Lame (Score:5, Insightful)

          by bmacs27 (1314285) on Thursday January 27, 2011 @12:09PM (#35020722)
          Anyone engaging in civil disobedience knows what they are doing. Breaking the law is breaking the law. If your cause is worth breaking the law for, it damn well better be worth going to jail for.
    • I disagree. I think what's lame is "hackers" that are really just guys that downloaded an application written for them. Then they are surprised when they get caught, because they have no clue what is truly happening or how to do what they intend. That's the very definition of lame. They are posers and I have no love for posers. It might be elitist but seriously, stay on the curb if you don't know what you are doing. Too many these days think they can read a few articles on gizmodo, walk through a DIY lego-m

  • ... and as always, England Prevails!
  • by Sarten-X (1102295) on Thursday January 27, 2011 @11:04AM (#35019916) Homepage

    Perhaps with enough publicity from this case, the "members" of Anonymous will realize that throwing a tantrum is not useful activism. Unfortunately, it's more likely that the various police involved will be targeted next, along with their supporters, families, and barbers.

    • I don't know about where you live but the protests had the effect most protests are supposed to have.

      after the mastercard DoS the whole issue got splashed across most of the national papers here.
      It got the issue media attention.

      Also:Anon isn't known for defending their own.

      • And what changed as a result of this protest? Have other people stopped using Mastercard or PayPal now that their attention has been drawn to it or are people thinking - those pain the behind kids prevented me from doing what I needed to do for a day or two.

        • Wow.
          you really haven't been keeping up with the news.
          it drew so much attention to the issue that in at least one country mastercard is being dragged over the coals by regulators.
          http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2010/12/mastercard-visa-licenses-revoked-iceland-wikileaks/ [rawstory.com]

          which may lead to them no longer being allowed do buisness in an entire country.
          Without the Anon protests the issue wouldn't have hit the headlines and the politicians/regulators would almost certainly never heard of it.

          • First I don't buy for even a second that the protests are what brought this to the regulators attention. Second, we are talking about Iceland - not exactly a country that is going to bankrupt mastercard or visa by banning them.

            • why not? without the protests getting it splashed across the front pages it would have stayed boring nerd news.

              Right, so protesters shouldn't bother protesting anything unless it might cause the company involved to be banned from trading in a big country. check.

              out of interest could you give me some examples of protests you think actually suceeded?
              I mean ones where they had more effect than possibly leading to the company possibly being banned from trading in an entire country and which you can conclusively

              • Wikileaks was nerd news? It was mainstream news all over the world for MONTHS before this attack happened. I think you put way too much importance on this attack. I mean these kids wouldn't even known to attack these places if it hadn't already been mainstream news.

                And successful protests? Honestly there are very, very few in the last couple of decades on a scale you are talking about. Employees rights at the turn of the century along with women's rights and civil rights come to my mind. Nowadays most

                • on scale I'm talking about? no no no good sir.that insanely high scale was the bar that you set.
                  apparently the posibility of being banned in only one country wasn't good enough.

                  wikileaks was news. mastercard refusing to do buisness with them was a footnote that didn't even make it into most newspapers until Anon protested it.

                  So anyway. given your eariler insistence that you don't believe for one second that the icelandics regulator thing had anything to do with the anonymous protests please prove to the lev

      • by godefroi (52421)

        I don't know about where you live but the protests had the effect most protests are supposed to have.

        Getting the protesters arrested? That's pretty much all I noticed happening.

      • Anon really can't defend their own because that would expose them. It's also so loosely coupled it really is just a social movement more than a led effort. There are community leaders but people in anonymous do what they want.

    • Perhaps with enough publicity from this case, the "members" of the NAACP will realize that throwing a tantrum is not useful activism. Unfortunately, it's more likely that the various police involved will be targeted next, along with their supporters, families, and barbers.
      • Your comparison is off base because the NAACP doesn't break the law in their efforts.

        A good comparison would be the Irish Republican Army. Sure they fought for their freedoms, but the methods they used were barbaric. Tossing a grenade at a funeral is outrageous, regardless of how you've been treated. Just like this anonymous attack is.

      • Perhaps with enough publicity from this case, the "members" of Slashdot will realize that using a straw man argument is not useful activism. Unfortunately, it's more likely that the various police involved will be targeted next, along with their supporters, families, and farmers.

    • While I agree with you that DDoSes are somewhat childish, pointless and rather stupid, Anonymous did manage to achieve quite a lot of publicity and did (however briefly) make a difference.

  • As far as I can tell, not one of these individuals can be charged under the Computer Misuse Act (but IANAL) - the DDOS was effectively reaslised across many individuals whose net effect was a DDOS. Further, surely they could claim that their action was simply an expression of their right to free assembly? Anyone any insights here?
    • by ledow (319597) on Thursday January 27, 2011 @11:12AM (#35020022) Homepage

      Quoting from the section headed: "Unauthorised acts with intent to impair, or with recklessness as to impairing, operation of computer, etc."

      (2) This subsection applies if the person intends by doing the actâ"

      (a) to impair the operation of any computer;

      (b) to prevent or hinder access to any program or data held in any computer;

      (c) to impair the operation of any such program or the reliability of any such data; or

      (d) to enable any of the things mentioned in paragraphs (a) to (c) above to be done.

      Just intent to slow down a website, or prevent other people accessing it, or even ENABLING people to intend to impair it's operation (e.g. distributing click-and-point tools and encouraging people to aim them at websites).

      • by ledow (319597)

        (sorry - missed off last bit of the sentence)

        Just intent to slow down a website, or prevent other people accessing it, or even ENABLING people to intend to impair it's operation (e.g. distributing click-and-point tools and encouraging people to aim them at websites) is enough to get you charged under that act and imprisoned for a long time if proven in court.

    • As far as I can tell, not one of these individuals can be charged under the Computer Misuse Act (but IANAL) - the DDOS was effectively reaslised across many individuals whose net effect was a DDOS. Further, surely they could claim that their action was simply an expression of their right to free assembly? Anyone any insights here?

      DDOS attacks are malicious in nature and designed to harm a target. It would be difficult to convince a reasonable person that they are equitable to a peaceful assembly. A better analogy would be to compare it to a mob riot.

      • by Nadaka (224565)

        Yes. Just like a mob riot. Except without the threat of permanent property damage. Except without the threat or possibility of bodily harm.

    • I'm pretty sure that intent matters. There is no law against holding a ladder, but when the cop catches you holding a ladder that someone is breaking into a store with you will be arrested too.

    • well there was some article written by an american lawyer talking about the issue with a DDoS being that each individual step is perfectly legal: you have every right to send a SYN to the server and only in agregate does it lead to any kind of effect.

      There's even a legit debate that it falls under "non-violent political protest" since it's done as a protest about a political issue in an utterly non-violent manner which does no physical damage to any property.

      It's not taking over a computer or taking access

      • Don't almost all DDoS attacks use hacked computers as part of their attack?

        • sure, most DDoS attacks do but unless these kids were botnet herders that isn't really an issue.
          I heard that some botnet got involved but again, not really an issue.

          If you turn up to a protest you aren't automatically legally liable for the actions of some other person who shows up and throws rocks.

          The anon protests used the LOIC software which is a volentary botnet.

          • by Nadaka (224565)

            Depending on the jurisdiction, you can be held responsible for the actions of anyone in a protest by a number of means.

            • in those juristictions it must be really really easy to get any protesters you don't like arrested.

              Pay someone cash to turn up with a firebomb and voila, all the protesters you want rid off get the blame.

    • Re:Interesting (Score:4, Informative)

      by Grumbleduke (789126) on Thursday January 27, 2011 @11:43AM (#35020408) Journal

      For those interested, the relevant part is Section 3 [legislation.gov.uk] of the Computer Misuse Act 1990.

      "(1) A person is guilty of an offence if... (a) he does any unauthorised act in relation to a computer, (b) at the time when he does the act he knows that it is unauthorised; and..." he intends "(2)(b) to prevent or hinder access to any program or data held in any computer;".

      It doesn't need to be aimed at any particular data, computer etc. (4), "causing the acts to be done" is enough (5)(b) and the effects can be temporary (5)(c).

      That sounds quite a bit like a DDoS attack to me (I am a law student, but not a real lawyer).

      Oh, and if you plead guilty, you get at most 12 months in prison (6 months in Scotland - I guess because they don't have real computers up there). If you actually go to trial, that jumps up to 10 years. Bearing in mind that a jury system has at least an 83% uncertainty, it is actually better to plead guilty even if innocent.

  • They should not have used a tool that made their identities so obvious. So nothing of value was lost.

  • for every one of people as such you arrest or attempt to repress, you generate thousands more of them in their image, by making them heroes as such in the others' eyes.

    the time that people are suppressed by 'making an example of' any among them, are long past. 20-21st century generations become increasingly more rebellious as you attempt to repress them.

    serves you right though. this is exactly what you should be doing.

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