Security

Conspiracy conviction for Anonymous hacker in PayPal, Visa, MasterCard case

Anonymous

A hacker associated with attacks that took down PayPal’s website in 2010 convicted of “conspiracy to impair the operation of computers” in the U.K. today. This comes soon after three of his cohorts pleaded guilty to the same.

Christopher Weatherhead was arrested in November 2011, nearly a year after Anonymous waged a war on PayPal and other websites that had cut off donations being sent to whistle-blower website Wikileaks. The site published U.S. diplomatic cables in 2010, causing a media uproar and some payment companies to block off access to Wikileaks’ donations channels. These payments companies included Visa, MasterCard, and PayPal — all of which Weatherhead is convicted of “impairing.”

Also on this list are the British Recorded Music Industry, Ministry of Sound, and the Internatinoal Federation of the Phonographic Industry.

“A self-styled ‘hacktivist’, Weatherhead and his fellow conspirators targeted companies in the music industry involved in combating internet piracy and companies that had stopped processing online donations to WikiLeaks,” said Russell Tyner, Crown advocate for the CPS Organized Crime Division in a statement. “Their campaign of attacks cost these companies over £3.5 million in additional staffing, software and loss of sales”

The other hackers who pleaded guilty were Jake Birchall, Ashley Rhodes, and Peter Gibson in January 2012, March 2012, and July 2012 respectively.

hat tip Bloomberg; Anonymous image via gaelx/Flickr