Four hackers attributed to the online organization "Anonymous" receive sentencing.
As a result of conspiracies to impair computer systems as part of "Operation Payback" in 2010-2011, the fourth UK-based "hactavist" wound up in court. The first three, Christopher Weatherhead, Ashley Rhodes, and Peter David Gibson, ended up with jail time for the first two and a two-year suspended sentence for Gibson. Jake Birchall, who was 16 at the time of the incident, was too young to be sentenced to prison and was able to avoid a more "substantial" sentence as Judge Testar stated. Birchall instead received 18 months of youth rehabilitation as well as 60 hours of community service. Meanwhile, Weatherhead, 22, received an 18-month sentence, and Rhodes, 28, seven months. Birchall allegedly operated two servers for Anonymous, and has a "great deal of organizational control" in the group. Online, Birchall had once written that he was the "No 2 most Anon."
Eleven people were accused of attacking PayPal during Operation Payback in November 2010. PayPal was again targeted for cyber attacks two more times in December of the same year. In a brief response on the Official PayPal Blog, the company distanced itself as much as possible from the controversial WikiLeaks and other cyber attack suspects. Anonymous has briefly shut down websites such as PayPal and MasterCard, but has done no other published damage to date.
Photo credit: Stian Eikeland