The FBI indicted a number of Anonymous members last week and as it turns out, not all of them fit the underground hacker stereotype. In total, the 28-page indictment alleged that 13 people were responsible for helping Anonymous take down or disrupt service at multiple websites including Bank of America, MasterCard and numerous antipiracy groups.
The Verge has learned the identity of some of the defendants which include 28-year-old IT professional Phillip Simpson, Anthony Tadros who is a student at the University of Connecticut and 65-year-old Geoffrey Commander. But perhaps most interesting of them all is 27-year-old Ryan Gubele who just recently started working as a site reliability engineer for Twitter and once was a contract employee for Amazon.
Prosecutors allege Gubele was responsible for tracking the effectiveness of Anonymous attacks on the Motion Picture Association of America which is a trade group for Hollywood movie studios. They also believe he is responsible for accessing computer systems of a least one target during the group’s campaign.
Operating Payback, which lasted from September 2010 through January 2011, was a series of coordinated attacks aimed at companies that either refused to process donations made to WikiLeaks or those that supported antipiracy efforts.
With the dismantling of Anonymous and the takedown of the Silk Road, the US government has had quite a bit of success lately in dealing with those conducting illegal activity online. Given the incredible scope of the NSA’s ability to tap into virtually everything done online, users would be well advised to avoid copycat behavior in the future.