WASHINGTON - US authorities on Tuesday arrested 16 people on charges they participated in major cyber attacks, including the crippling of eBay's PayPal website as retribution for dropping WikiLeaks as a client.
FBI agents arrested 14 people in nine states and Washington, DC, for the PayPal attack, which occurred last December and was allegedly coordinated by the hacking group Anonymous. It was the biggest response by authorities tied to a recent spate of high-profile cyber attacks.
Financial institutions like PayPal, Visa and MasterCard withdrew services from WikiLeaks last year after the website published thousands of sometimes embarrassing secret US diplomatic reports that have caused strains between Washington and numerous allies.
Hackers responded with so-called distributed denial-of-service attacks that flooded the companies' websites with requests for information and rendered them unavailable to legitimate users, according to the indictment filed in federal court in San Jose, California.