A “hacktivist” is behind bars for attacks on MasterCard and PayPal

A 16-year-old boy suspected of being involved in the electronic attacks on the MasterCard and PayPal sites was arrested yesterday in Holland.

The boy is allegedly part of the internet campaign group “Anonymous” behind a string of computer attacks on companies that dropped their support for the whistle-blowing website Wikileaks.

The authorities are thought to be investigating the activities of the Anonymous group.

The incarceration of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange on Swedish sex crime charges has spurred on the efforts of so called “hacktivists” who have launched a campaign of revenge against perceived enemies of Wikileaks.

At the same time there are threats of distributed denial of service (DdoS) attacks pushing online shopping into meltdown. Hackers use armies of botnets to control victimized computers and launch the assaults. They also targeted Amazon because it had removed WikiLeaks information from its computer servers.

Security specialists are working overtime as hackers reportedly shut down the Swedish government website in revenge for the prosecution of Assange.

Commenting on the news, Alan Bentley, of security specialists Lumension, said: “This isn’t just one-upmanship between hacktivists supporting Wikileaks and self proclaimed ‘patriotic’ hackers - the collateral damage of this cyberwar could see a number of hackivists behind bars.”

He continued: “DdoS attacks will not go away any time soon. There are armies of botnets ready to be activated at any given moment. A significant clean up effort of computers will be required to get a grip of this situation.”

More comment: The cyber world war