Thursday, January 24, 2013
#Anonymous hacker Christopher Weatherhead jailed for 18 months
The 22-year-old was previously convicted of hacking into the websites of Visa, Mastercard and PayPal, costing the latter an estimated £3.5 million, Sky News reports.
Fellow Anonymous members Ashley Rhodes and Peter Gibson were tried alongside Weatherhead at Southwark Crown Court, receiving seven months in jail and a six-month sentence, suspended for two years, respectively.
Rhodes, 28, was found guilty of conspiring with Weatherhead to impair the operations of the targeted businesses between 2010 and 2011, while 24-year-old Gibson was deemed to have played a lesser role, which he admitted to. Judge Peter Testar said: "It is intolerable that when an individual or a group disagrees with a particular entity's activities they should be free to curtail that activity by means of attacks such as those which took place in this case."
A fourth man, 18-year-old Jake Birchall, has also admitted to playing a part in the conspiracy and will be sentenced at a later date. DDoS attacks overload computer systems by hitting them with an impossible number of requests simultaneously.
Victims of the Weatherhead-led attacks, referred to as Operation Payback, received the following message: "You've tried to bite the Anonymous hand. You angered the hive and now you are being stung." The ring leader is believed to have targeted Paypal after it refused to process transactions for the Wau Holland Foundation, a group attempting to raise funding for WikiLeaks.