Anonymous member convicted for DDoS against PayPal, others

By on December 7, 2012, 4:00 PM

A jury has convicted 22-year old Anonymous hacktivist Christopher Weatherhead for playing a lead role in organizing a series of distributed denial of service attacks against PayPal (and others) in 2010. Weatherhead's cohorts, Peter Gibson, Jake Bichall and Ashley Rhodes, were also accused of and plead guilty to participating in "Operation: Payback" -- a 10-day DDoS attack which crippled PayPal (and others) for several hours. PayPal claims the stunt cost it a whopping £3.5 million, or about $5.6 million, in damages. 

The jury found Weatherhead guilty of "conspiracy to impair the operation of computers", in accordance to the Criminal Law Act of 1977. The judge warned Weatherhead (and his associates) that they could be facing jail time; however, a sentence won't be issued until a later date.

"I want to have as much information as possible before deciding what should happen in the case of these four men," the judge said. "I think these are serious offences to my mind, and I hope the defendant understands that."

In the meantime, Weatherhead -- or Nerdo, as he's known on the web -- was told by the court he may use a computer but can only use his real name online (i.e. no pseudonyms) and must abide by a midnight to 4:00am curfew. He'll also be electronically tagged.

During the trial, Weatherhead framed himself as an idealist who was upset with state of censorship on the web. Anonymous' anti-censorship message resonated with him, luring him into the hacktivist group.

In 2010, Anonymous set its sights on PayPal after the company ceased processing donations for Wikileaks, a controversial whistle-blowing organization. The electronic payment service also automatically froze Wikileak's assets amidst a particularly tumultuous time for the secret-publishing outfit.




User Comments: 19

Got something to say? Post a comment
2 people like this | lipe123 said:

A lot deserves to be said about hactivism and whatnot but at the same time I think the message here is really important.

Running a game server myself it gets downright stupid how every single disgruntled/jealous/immature lil kid can just ddos you with no consequence.

Staff
Jesse Jesse said:

A lot deserves to be said about hactivism and whatnot but at the same time I think the message here is really important.

Running a game server myself it gets downright stupid how every single disgruntled/jealous/immature lil kid can just ddos you with no consequence.

You may be overextended the message a bit. If your game server is DDoS'd and causes you to incur multi-million dollar losses, you can apply the outcome of this case. This will do nothing to discourage script-kiddies from messing with you.

3 people like this | fimbles fimbles said:

Its perfectly ok for paypal to deal with donations for racist, anti semitic, private torrent trackers, terrorist groups, and religious cults but they refuse to deal with a site that publishes the truth. however obtained because it shows the government for the sneaky low down, backstabbing, cut throat asshats they really are.

For shame...

1 person liked this | Guest said:

It's no worse than protesting in front of a building until the cops come force you to move.

At the most you spend a night in the drunk tank, why this is treated differently.....it's beyond me.

And when a computer law is 35 years old...it's time for a freaking revision.

1 person liked this | shamus087 said:

Its perfectly ok for paypal to deal with donations for racist, anti semitic, private torrent trackers, terrorist groups, and religious cults but they refuse to deal with a site that publishes the truth. however obtained because it shows the government for the sneaky low down, backstabbing, cut throat asshats they really are.

For shame...

Exactly why I support the hackers. **** paypal F anyone against Anonymous as far as I'm concerned.

H3llion H3llion, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I wish for a day, when DDoSing will literately be impossible to do, at least not by everyday Joe.

spencer spencer said:

Anonymous is misunderstood, they stand up for whats good in the world. Your only a member of it if you want to help your fellow man, but if it's for negative impact one is not a member of anonymous.

1 person liked this | psycros psycros said:

Anonymous is misunderstood, they stand up for whats good in the world. Your only a member of it if you want to help your fellow man, but if it's for negative impact one is not a member of anonymous.

LOL, oh man, the "rogue element" defense? Seriously? LOL!!

Guest said:

During the trial, Weatherhead framed himself as an idealist who was upset with state of censorship on the web. Anonymous' anti-censorship message resonated with him, luring him into the hacktivist group.

So the Anonymous method to stop censorship is to DDOS a site that in effect the DDOS action cencors the site. You are no better than what you claim to protest. Paypal has the right to decide what or what not to process. If you don't like that, then stop using Paypay, blog about what you don't like about Paypal, write to your represenatatives, portest in a peaceful way, participate in Democracy. Their is no need to attack the site. In the long run this does nothing to help your cause. Bring forth new ideas to help humankind, communicate those ideas in a positive way and then let people decide for themself if they want to follow those ideas or not. Of course this is just one person's opinion...

3 people like this | Tygerstrike said:

Yes Anon in its ideals stands for a free web, but thier actions have ALWAYS been counter to thier own ideals. Im sure they will argue that the ends justify the means. But then again so does every other despot and meglomanic who has ever had a modicome of power. Sitting in mommys basement and scrpting DDoS attacks isnt changing the web for the better. Everytime ANON takes down a website or does DDoS attacks, they become just as bad as the ppl they claim to be against. They become the censors. Sounds less like web freedom fighters and more like a 13yr old throwing a temper tantrum.

Guest said:

Not so Anonymous after all.

LoL !!

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I will say this again, anyone that does not operate under a specific name is considered anonymous. You can not have an anonymous group without this group including everyone without a name.

1 person liked this | avoidz avoidz said:

Be nice if those bankers and execs who cost the world billions and probably trillions and almost crashed the whole economy a few years ago got the same attention and similar sentence.

MilwaukeeMike said:

Im sure they will argue that the ends justify the means. But then again so does every other despot and meglomanic who has ever had a modicome of power. They become the censors.

Another fun piece of irony regarding Anon... the FBI deals with them the same way they deal with the mafia. Find an influencial member, confront him with his crimes, and tell him that he'll spend a long time in jail if he doesn't rat out his buddies. His name is Hector Xavier Monsegur.

Guest said:

Considering it'll happen more and more often, we should probably give him a government job.

Tygerstrike said:

I would have more sympathy for ANON except they really havent done ANYTHING all that world changing. ANON needs to spend some of its energy doing acts that will improve the world. How about useing those "Leet" skills and crack open Syria and expose its dirty secrets. Maybe get some proof that North Korea is working on nukes. Maybe crash out the Mexican Cartels computers and send all thier ill gotten cash to an Orphange. Something, anything that would change the world for the better instead of the specilized "censoring" that they currently do. Im sorry if it seems harsh, but if a group labels itself "for the betterment of mankind" you expect to see something from them that hold closer to thier ideals.

Darth Shiv Darth Shiv said:

Its perfectly ok for paypal to deal with donations for racist, anti semitic, private torrent trackers, terrorist groups, and religious cults but they refuse to deal with a site that publishes the truth. however obtained because it shows the government for the sneaky low down, backstabbing, cut throat asshats they really are.

For shame...

Indeed

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

...[ ]... Maybe get some proof that North Korea is working on nukes.,,,,[ ].....
I think all you have to do is ask North Korea if they're working on nukes. I'm pretty sure they'll tell you. It goes along with the whole "million man army" and all too frequent, but fortunately self destructing , ICBM tests.

Guest said:

I'll tell you this, their booty holes will no longer be anonymous after they spend time in the clink lol

Load all comments...

Add New Comment

TechSpot Members
Login or sign up for free,
it takes about 30 seconds.
You may also...
Get complete access to the TechSpot community. Join thousands of technology enthusiasts that contribute and share knowledge in our forum. Get a private inbox, upload your own photo gallery and more.