THIRTEEN members of the Anonymous hacktivist collective have pleaded guilty to charges relating to a cyber attack against payment service Paypal in 2010.
Ten of the defendants pleaded guilty in US federal court in San Jose, California on Thursday to one count of conspiracy and one count of damaging a protected computer, while the remaining three pleaded guilty to misdemeanour charges.
The hacktivists, 11 men and two women, admitted attacking the website by carrying out distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks. They said the reason behind the attack was retaliation for Paypal's decision to suspend payments to whistleblowing website Wikileaks.
"Citing violations of the Paypal terms of service, and in response to Wikileaks' release of the classified cables, Paypal suspended WikiLeaks' accounts such that Wikileaks could no longer receive donations via Paypal," US Attorney Melinda Haag said Thursday in a statement in San Francisco.
"Wikileaks' website declared that Paypal's action 'tried to economically strangle Wikileaks.'"
At the time, the attack on Paypal was named "Operation Payback" and struck a number of organisations including Mastercard, Visa, and the Motion Picture Association of America.
The attacks lasted between September 2010 and January 2011. In addition to retaliating against payment providers, part of Operation Payback reportedly was aimed at parties thought to be involved in a campaign against The Pirate Bay. µ