The FBI announced that it arrested 16 individuals nationwide, allegedly involved in the cyber attack of PayPal. The 16 are believed to be part of the hacking group Anonymous. This comes just a few days after another group of Anonymous hackers were arrested in Spain for their alleged role in the PlayStation hack.
And the search is not ending here or abroad with these arrests. According to the FBI website:
Also today, FBI agents executed more than 35 search warrants throughout the United States as part of an ongoing investigation into coordinated cyber attacks against major companies and organizations. Finally, the United Kingdom's Metropolitan Police Service arrested one person and the Dutch National Police Agency arrested four individuals today for alleged related cyber crimes.
As a reminder of how Anonymous works, CNET said this:
The hackers primarily use DDoS attacks, which are designed to temporarily cripple Web sites. To do that, they enlist supporters to use software on their computers that sends so many requests to access a targeted Web site that it overwhelms the site with traffic, effectively shutting it down. The hackers also claimed to have compromised servers to steal data that was then released to the public.
But don't expect Anonymous - or any other hacking groups - to slink away into the woodwork, fearing arrest. First of all, a Twitter search of "Anonymous arrests" showed some defiant reactions. Several Tweets repeated this phrase:
You can arrest us, but you cannot destroy us. We are an idea and ideas cannot be destroyed. We are Anonymous we are legion!
Another Tweet threatened that with every one arrest, he/she will train 10 more hackers for the cause.
Andrew Herlands, director of security strategy for Application Security, Inc., told me this:
It is likely that the suspected "anonymous" members were no more than foot soldiers in the larger Anonymous battle. A favorite tool of Anonymous for causing Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) is the Low Orbit Ion Cannon (LOIC) software. People who wanted to join the Anonymous movement were encouraged to download the software to their personal computers, and join coordinated distributed attack "campaigns". It's likely that the people arrested are merely pawns, and while they may be made an example of, their arrest will likely have little to no short term impact on the hacktivist attacks.
And so Anonymous will likely march on despite the arrests and I wouldn't be surprised to hear from them very soon.
In other news, we are still hearing from LulzSec, despite its promise to retire. These hackers are like zombies - no matter how much you shoot them down, they keep coming back.