PayPal Anonymous Attackers Guilty

Members of the computer hacking group Anonymous, charged with a PayPal denial-of-service attack entered pleas on Thursday that might see some walk free next December at their sentencing.

Fourteen were charged back in July of 2011 for the DDoS PayPal attack in December of 2010 as retribution for the company’s decision to end the WikiLeaks donation account.

The group was charged with conspiring amongst themselves along with other unknown and known persons to commit damage intentionally to a computer that was protected, under the Computer Abuse and Fraud Act.

The DDoS attempts to make a particular website inaccessible through overloading it with different requests and disrupting the server.

Of all 14 defendants, 11 entered guilty pleas to one felony and misdemeanor, said counsel for one defendant.

The agreement, which was approved by the court, has sentencing adjourned for one full year. The court could dismiss the felony charge if during the next year nothing new comes up like being arrested.

Each defendant will be conditionally discharged for the charge that is a misdemeanor and could receive credit for his or her time served.

However, each of the 11 defendants must pay $5,600 in restitution.

Two other defendants admitted to the misdemeanor but not the felony charge, as they do not want felony charges on their personal record. This means that they would have to serve as much as 90 days behind bars upon the sentencing date next December.

Counsel for some of the defendants called it a win for civil disobedience, as most defendants admitted that they felt what they did was appropriate and have accepted all consequences for their actions.

One other defendant is facing criminal charges in Virginia in federal court in connection with more DDoS attacks.

This week in a post online, Pierre Omidyar the founder and chairman at eBay, PayPal’s parent company said the prosecutors needed to look at actual damage that each defendant caused as it would be unjust to detain all 14 people.

The eBay founder continued by saying the prosecutors should look at each defendant’s circumstances and see if they had been aware of the huge impact their action would have.