The FBI said on Thursday it executed more than 40 search warrants in
the United States as part of its investigation into recent
coordinated cyber attacks allegedly by a group called "Anonymous"
that had backed WikiLeaks.
Also today, the United Kingdom?s Metropolitan Police Service executed
additional search warrants and arrested five people for their alleged
role in the attacks.
These distributed denial of service attacks (DDoS) are facilitated by
software tools designed to damage a computer network's ability to
function by flooding it with useless commands and information, thus
denying service to legitimate users. A group calling itself
"Anonymous" has claimed responsibility for the attacks, saying they
conducted them in protest of the companies' and organizations'
actions. The attacks were facilitated by the software tools the group
makes available for free download on the Internet. The victims
included major U.S. companies across several industries.
The FBI also added that facilitating or conducting a DDoS attack is
illegal, punishable by up to 10 years in prison, as well as exposing
participants to significant civil liability.
WikiLeaks has disclosed classified U.S. diplomatic dispatches which
included candid and embarrassing assessments of world leaders as well
as classified documents related to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Internet activists last month carried out a series of online assaults
against institutions they viewed as enemies of WikiLeaks, temporarily
bringing down the websites of credit-card giants Visa and MasterCard,
Amazon.com and of the Swedish government.
The FBI said that it is working closely with its international law
enforcement partners and others to mitigate these threats.
Authorities in the Netherlands, Germany, and France have also taken
their own investigative and enforcement actions. The National
Cyber-Forensics and Training Alliance (NCFTA) also is providing
assistance. Major Internet security (anti-virus) software providers
have instituted updates so they will detect the so-called "Low Orbit
Ion Canon" tools used in these attacks.