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NEW YORK (CNN) — Authorities on Tuesday made wide-ranging arrests of top members of the computer hacker group “Anonymous,” and its splinter groups called Internet Feds, AntiSec and LulzSec, which have claimed responsibility for high-profile cyber attacks against government agencies and large companies.
Five of the alleged hackers in the United States and Europe were charged in Manhattan federal court after their arrests, according to the indictment. A sixth has pleaded guilty to computer hacking and other crimes.
Ryan Ackroyd, 23; Jake Davis, 29; Darren Martyn, 25; and Donncha O’Cearrbhail, 19, were charged with conspiracy regarding cyber attacks against Fox Broadcasting Co., Sony Pictures Entertainment and the Public Broadcasting Service, or PBS. Jeremy Hammond, 27, was charged with crimes regarding a December cyber attack — against a Texas firm called Strategic Forecasting Inc. — that authorities say may have affected about 860,000 people.
Ackroyd and Davis are from the United Kingdom, the indictment said. Martyn and O’Cearrbhail are from Ireland, and Hammond is from Chicago.
Hector Xavier Monsegur, 28, a New York resident, this summer pleaded guilty to 12 counts of computer hacking and other crimes.
Monsegur and others claimed responsibility for a slew of cyber strikes between December 2010 and June 2011 that included denial of service attacks against the websites of Visa, MasterCard and PayPal.
Authorities say those attacks were prompted by the firms’ refusals to process donations to WikiLeaks, an organization that facilitates the anonymous leaking of secret information. Its website has released thousands of classified diplomatic cables as well as confidential — and, at times, controversial — messages about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Authorities said they investigated the hacker suspects with help from a leader within the organization who had been secretly working with government officials.
From Susan Candiotti, CNN
updated 12:49 PM EST, Tue March 6, 2012
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