Thursday, U.K. police charged yet another suspect in connection with the Anonymous led denial-of-service attacks (DDOS). A 22-year-old student, Peter David Gibson, of Hartlepool, was charged under the Criminal Law Act of 1977. He has been bailed out and expects to see his first court date on Sept 7.
Gibson has been charged with conspiracy to impair the operation of a computer or hinder access to program or data, stated the London Metropolitan Police. All the charge fit the concept of exactly what DDOS does. The student was arrested earlier this year along with five others during investigation of the denial-of-service attack against several companies.
Authorities have been extremely busy this year making arrests based on hacking charges. July, police in Italy executed 32 pre-dawn raids netting multiple arrests of suspects connected with the activities that led to the month-long outage of the PlayStation Network. U.S. authorities reeled in 14 arrests seeking suspects involved in a DDoS attack against PayPal in the wake of the WikiLeaks donation account fiasco.
The antics of LulzSec caught national attention for a while before the group ended their rampage, but authorities are still seeking and charging thought-to-be-members. Also in July, New Scotland Yard and Essex Police arrested 19-year-old Ryan Cleary for his part in botnet attacks (and thought connection to LulzSec, which the group denied.) August, Metropolitan Police announced the capture of then-thought “Topiary” of LulzSec; although rumors abounded that the police had arrested the wrong Topiary—although evidence seems to speak otherwise. 18-year-old Jake Davis, thought to be the spokesman “Topiary” of LulzSec, made bail early August and after being charged with multiple computer crimes.
Not so much cat and mouse as a small number of cats against a mischief of mice
All of these arrests, warrants, and raids have lead international authorities on a merry chase against multiple hacker groups, some only loosely connected; but their activities were not missed by the world hacker community, especially Anonymous, LulzSec, and AntiSec. As a result, law enforcement agencies have become primary targets…and in some cases they appear to have been extremely soft targets.
In late June, as part of their “Hack the Planet” AntiSec campaign, LulzSec released 446 megabytes of stolen internal e-mails from AZDPS. The e-mails included a lot of internal communication, training manuals, immigration investigation, and even the names of confidential informants. Then, after the series of arrests in August, AntiSec released 10 gigabytes of internal e-mails, data, and other information that potentially compromised thousands of identities of law enforcement officials.
These aren’t so much the cat-and-mouse games portrayed in popular movies about hackers, this is a cultural war between law enforcement and underground hacker groups—most of whom are only loosely aware of one another and use limited, primitive tools. A lot of the events taking place between authorities and these juvenile criminals shows that law enforcement websites are woefully under-protected in view of modern cyberwarfare.