UK security officials have arrested five individuals suspected of participating in DDoS (distributed denial of service) activities under the auspices of an Anonymous-led campaign in support of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.
“The five males aged, 15, 16, 19, 20 and 26, are being held after a series of coordinated arrests at residential addresses,” UK police confirmed in an official statement.
“The arrests are in relation to recent and ongoing DDoS attacks by an online group calling themselves ‘Anonymous.’ This investigation [continues and] is being carried out in conjunction with international law enforcement agencies in Europe and the US.”
As Sophos security expert Graham Cluley points out, taking part in a denial-of-service attack is considered illegal in many countries.
In addition, the standard LOIC tool – used in DDoS campaigns – is not deemed “adequate camouflage” for those wishing to conceal their participation.
“Clearly the authorities are not looking sympathetically on those they believe are assisting the denial-of-service attacks. And that’s not just true in the UK. For instance, in Holland we have now seen two arrests in connection with the attacks,” explained Cluley.
“[Obviously], computer users should think very carefully before being recruited as a hacktivist to launch attacks on websites belonging to other people – otherwise it could be that the police are knocking on your door next.”
However, as Barrett Brown aptly notes in The Guardian, thousands of Anonymous activists are currently engaged in assisting “successful revolution” in Tunisia, as well as the nascent pro-democracy uprisings in Egypt and Algeria.
“Those of us who are keen on liberty – particularly those of us who choose to work with Anonymous rather than the various western governments that have shown themselves to be comfortably complicit with tyranny – are the first to acknowledge that every private entity should be free to deny services to anyone they choose, and for whatever reason,” opined Brown.
“[Of course], the US itself exerts force on those same companies through antitrust suits. One may retort that all of these things are carried out in accordance with the rule of law.
“But I would love to debate any politician in any western state on the question of whether the rule of law ought to be respected in a world where even the most ‘respectable’ governments establish intelligence agencies that routinely violate those laws at taxpayer expense and at no real penalty to anyone involved.”