US federal prosecutors have reportedly charged 13 members of the hacking group Anonymous for launching a collective attack in 2010 against anti-piracy groups and financial institutions unwilling to process donations to whistleblowing site WikiLeaks.
The 13 members have been accused of participating in a series of cyberattacks that briefly disrupted Mastercard’s and Visa’s Web sites and also targeted the web sites of anti-piracy groups across the world, because they had stopped processing payments to WikiLeaks.
The group allegedly launched the cyberattack operation named ‘Operation Payback’ that began in September 2010, in which the members of Anonymous retaliated for the shuttering of Pirate Bay, a popular Sweden-based file-sharing site.
According to the Washington Post, the attackers targeted the sites of those that have been the faces of anti-piracy in the US like the Recording Industry Association of America and the Motion Picture Association of America along with the sites of law firms helping in anti-piracy cases.
Former Anonymous member and Internet activist, Gregg Housh, who claims to have no role in the attacks, said that they started as a protest of anti-piracy efforts but evolved as those involved learned of major companies’ refusal to process WikiLeaks donations.
He further said that the recent indictment was unlikely to deter Anonymous hackers, and instead would ‘fire up the base’, the report added.