Peter Gibson, a 22-year old student from Hartlepool, England has been charged by British Police for his involvement in the Distributed Denial of Service attacks on payment companies back in December 2010, after they withdrew support for donations being made to Wikileaks.

Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks are favored by Anonymous. It works by flooding the servers with traffic, overloading them, and subsequently causing the servers to crash, or become otherwise unreachable.

Gibson, who was arrested back in April 2011, has been charged under the Computer Misuse Act for his part in the attacks on Mastercard, Visa and PayPal last December, after they froze donations being made to Wikileaks, in part due to continued pressure from the United States government regarding their defiant release of sensitive US communications.

At the time, Amazon and Bank of America were also targeted, but it’s not clear if these two attacks are related to Gibson's involvement. He is the first person to be charged during the Criminal investigations into the attacks by the Metropolitan Police Central e-Crimes Unit.

In January four other people were arrested, though they were released on bail. A fifth person was also arrested, but later released without charge. Gibson is the first British person involved in the attacks to be charged.

Anonymous believe the attacks are nothing more than civil disobedience, but the British Courts are likely to view the charges more seriously. Gibson could face a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison if found guilty under the British Computer Misuse Act.