FOUR PEOPLE alleged to be associated with the group Anonymous appeared in court yesterday, accused of having taken part in attacks on payment processor Paypal.
Three are named, one is unnamed because of age. The three are Christopher Weatherhead, 22, Ashley Rhodes, 27, and Peter Gibson, 24. According to the BBC they appeared at Southwark Crown Court on Thursday.
They are accused of attacking the company by overwhelming its computers in response to its blocking of payments to Wikileaks in late 2010.
Prosecutor Sandip Patel said that the protest caused Paypal "enormous economic harm", giving a figure of £3.5m in damages.
"This case, simply put, is about hackers who used the internet to attack and disable computer systems," he said. He characterised the four as "colloquially described as cyber attackers or vandals".
The attack was a denial of service assault on Paypal that allegedly disrupted its services by overwhelming them.
Patel said that people trying to access the Paypal website would be redirected to another page that was displaying a message from Anonymous. "You've tried to bite the Anonymous hand," it said. "You angered the hive and now you are being stung."
Christopher Weatherhead is accused of being part of a small group of people who allegedly directed the Anonops group. Patel said that he and others caused "unprecedented harm".
"It is the prosecution case that Christopher Weatherhead, the defendant, is a cyber attacker and that he, and others like him, waged a sophisticated and orchestrated campaign of online attacks that paralysed a series of targeted computer systems belonging to companies to which they took issue with, for whatever reason, and those attacks caused unprecedented harm," he said.
Today Anonymous accounts are again expressing anger at Paypal, using the hashtags #oppaypal and #oppayback. µ