Feds charge 13 in hacking attacks on anti-piracy groups, financial institutions that blockaded Wikileaks


An early flyer for Operation Payback.

A U.S. Grand Jury today filed an indictment against 13 alleged members of Anonymous, for a series of internet denial-of-service attacks the collective launched in 2010 against ­anti-piracy groups and financial institutions that cooperated with a government request to block the processing of monetary donations to WikiLeaks.

Here is a copy of the indictment.

The attacks were referred to at the time as “Operation Payback.”


From the Washington Post:

The indictment returned Thursday in U.S. District Court in Alexandria charges the 13 men with conspiring to intentionally cause damage to protected computers. Prosecutors accused the men 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.

The 13 alleged hackers are said to have used distributed denial of service attacks, also known as DDoS against the MPAA, the RIAA, anti-filesharing blowhard and KISS singer Gene Simmons, and Hustler magazine, as well as financial institutions that refused to process donations to Wikileaks after reported government requests.

Below, a promotional video for OpPayback released in 2010, at the time of the cyberattacks.

The men charged are identified by federal prosecutors as Dennis Owen Collins, 52, of Toledo; Jeremy Leroy Heller, 23, of Takoma Park; Zhiwei Chen, 21, of Atlanta; Joshua S. Phy, 27, of Gloucester, N.J.; Ryan Russell Gubele, 27, of Seattle; Robert Audubon Whitfield, 27, of Georgetown, Tex.; Anthony Tadros, 22, of Storrs Mansfield, Conn.; Geoffrey Kenneth Commander, 65, of Hancock, N.H.; Phillip Garrett Simpson, 28, of Tucson; Austen L. Stamm, 26, of Beloit, Kan.; Timothy Robert McClain, 26, of Clemson, S.C.; Wade Carl Williams, 27, of Missoula, Mont.; and Thomas J. Bell, 28, of Rockland, Mass.