A STUDENT has been convicted of having a role in Operation Payback, the online campaign to make Paypal pay for its funding blockade of Wikileaks.
The Guardian reports that Christopher Weatherhead, 22, who goes by the name Nerdo, was a "key member" of Anonymous and a "leading player" in distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks against Paypal.
He was convicted today in a court in London on one count of conspiracy to impair the operation of computers, contrary to section 1 (1) of the Criminal Law Act 1977.
A sentencing date has not been announced but the penalties imposed could extend to jail time. Paypal reckons it spent as much as £3.5m in clearing up after the DDoS attacks. The judge wants a little time to consider what sort of sentence might be appropriate.
"I want to have as much information as possible before deciding what should happen in the case of these four men," he said. "I think these are serious offences to my mind, and I hope the defendant understands that."
The three other defendants are Ashley Rhodes, 27, of London, Peter Gibson, 24, of Hartlepool, and Jake Birchall, 18, and from Chester.
Weatherhead has refused to admit a role in the attacks, and said that he worked in some sort of communications capacity for Anonymous.
During the denial of service attack people that tried to access the Paypal website were directed to another page with a message of defiance.
"You've tried to bite the Anonymous hand," it said. "You angered the hive and now you are being stung."
Anonymous and other protestors also tried to encourage users to close down their Paypal accounts. "We are not the terrorists here: you are," said a communique at the time. "We encourage anyone using Paypal to immediately close their accounts and consider an alternative." µ