Teenager arrested in cyber attack probe

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The Independent Online

A South London teenager thought to have links to cyber activism groups Anonymous and LulzSec was arrested today as part of a global sting, police have confirmed.

The specialist e-Crime unit within Scotland Yard made the arrest under the Computer Misuse Act yesterday and the teenager is in custody, police said.

The raids, carried out in the UK; the USA and in the Netherlands, were linked to the attack on PayPal in December last year, as well as other attacks. PayPal was allegedly targeted after the payment service stopped processing donations to WikiLeaks.

In all, nineteen suspected so-called “hacktivists” were arrested across the world and US police officers secured search warrants related to the inquiry.

Two arrests were also made in the US unrelated to the PayPal attack. In one case, filed in New Jersey, a customer support contractor was charged with stealing confidential business information on mobile operator AT&T's servers. The data was posted on a public file sharing site, and Lance Moore, 21, from New Mexico, was accused of exceeding his authorised access to the company's servers in downloading thousands of documents and applications.

Court documents seen by The Independent confirm that the 14 alleged hackers charged in connection with the PayPal attack were arrested in Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, the District of Columbia, Florida, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Mexico and Ohio and are aged between 20 and 42. The name and age of one of the 14 was withheld by the court.

Named in the indictment were: Christopher Cooper, 23 and known online as “Anthrophobic”; Joshua Covelli, 26, aka “Absolem” and “Toxic”; Keith Downey, 26; Donald Husband, 29, aka “Ananon”; Vincent Kershaw, 27, aka “Trivette”, “Triv” and “Reaper”; Ethan Miles, 33; James Murphy, 36; Drew Phillips, 26, aka “Drew010”; Jeffrey Puglisi, 28, aka “Jeffer”, “Jefferp” and “Ji”; Daniel Sullivan, 22; Tracy Valenzuela, 42; and Christopher Quang Vo, 22.

The Associated Press reported, in the other non-PayPal case, Scott Arciszewski, 21, was arrested on charges of intentional damage to a protected computer. His arrest is in relation to an attack on the FBI-affiliated Infragard website last month.