The FBI has finally set its sights on Anonymous, according to this recent Ars Technica story. The investigation is related to the groups’ attacks on various corporations and organizations that it felt had wronged Wikileaks and its founder Julian Assange.
The FBI said that it executed more than 40 search warrants across the United States last Thursday. At the same time, British police arrested five men who allegedly participated in the group’s denial of service attacks on various corporations such as Visa, Mastercard, PayPal and Amazon in mid-December. Anonymous targeted these companies after they cut off access to WikiLeaks.
According to Ars, thousands of users – keen to participate – downloaded a tool called LOIC (affectionately referred to as Low Orbit Ion Cannon) that gave access to the computers to join a group attack on a designated target.
One thing the program didn’t do was hide users’ IP addresses, making it easy for investigators to get logs from target web sites and track down the perpetrators of the attacks.
No doubt this is just the beginning of the FBI’s raids related to Anonymous. No specific arrests have ben announced. The FBI also issued a warning to anyone wanting to join in on an Anonymous DDoS attack in the future:
"The FBI also is reminding the public that facilitating or conducting a DDoS attack is illegal, punishable by up to 10 years in prison, as well as exposing participants to significant civil liability."
Translation: It starts with a free ride in the party van. For a first-hand account of how an FBI raid might play out, check out this article on Ars Technica.