Anonymous cost PayPal £3.5 million

Operation Payback had quite a fiscal sting

November 23, 2012

The cost of “hacktivist” collective Anonymous’ attacks on the PayPal website in 2010 has been put at some £3.5 million.

The figure emerged, as the BBC reports, during a court case against one of the British hackers who is alleged to have taken part in the campaign – Christopher Weatherhead, now 22, who was studying at Northampton University at the time.

The campaign, known as Operation Payback, was carried out against PayPal after it suspended Wikileaks payments.

Weatherhead denies the charge of “conspiring to impair the operation of computers” from August 2010 through January 2011.

Three other UK-based hackers have already pleaded guilty to being involved in the operation, two in their twenties, and one an eighteen-year-old.

Sandip Patel, who was prosecuting, said: “It is the prosecution case that Christopher Weatherhead, the defendant, is a cyber-attacker and that he, and others like him, waged a sophisticated and orchestrated campaign of online attacks that paralysed a series of targeted computer systems belonging to companies to which they took issue with, for whatever reason, and those attacks caused unprecedented harm.”

The £3.5 million cost of the attack also includes the expenditure PayPal made for further software and hardware to defend against DDoS attacks better in the future – though arguably, this is a measure the firm should have put in place anyway.


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