UK charges another alleged Anonymous member

U.K. police continue to pursue the hacking group

U.K. police said Thursday a 22-year-old student has been charged in connection with participating in distributed denial-of-service attacks (DDOS) with the hacking collective Anonymous.

Peter David Gibson, of Hartlepool, was charged with conspiracy to do an unauthorized act in relation to a computer under the Criminal Law Act of 1977. Gibson has been bailed and is scheduled for an appearance in Westminster Magistrates Court on Sept. 7.

The Metropolitan Police said Gibson's arrest is part of an ongoing investigation into Anonymous, which has conducted several high-profile campaigns to take down websites for political reasons. Among its most prominent actions were sustained DDOS attacks against companies that stopped processing donations to WikiLeaks last November after it began releasing secret U.S. diplomatic cables.

U.K. police have made several arrests of alleged Anonymous members. Late last month, the supposed spokesman of Anonymous, who called himself "Topiary" was arrested in the Shetland Islands. Jake Davis, 18, was charged with conspiring with others to conduct DDOS attacks against the website of the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA), a British law enforcement institution similar to the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Also in July, U.K.'s Police Central e-Crime Unit, which investigates computer crime, arrested a 16-year-old on suspicion of violating the Computer Misuse Act of 1990 in connection with Anonymous. In January, they arrested five males who ranged in age from 15 to 26, and were charged with offenses under the same act.

A 19-year-old man, Ryan Cleary, was arrested on June 20 at his home in Wickford, Essex, for allegedly taking part in the attacks against SOCA. He is charged with five computer-related offenses and stands accused of distributing tools to build a botnet used to attack SOCA as well as websites of the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry and the British Phonographic Industry.

Other countries have made Anonymous-related arrests, including 32 people in Turkey in June and three people in Spain in the same month. The FBI made 16 arrests in July connected with Anonymous.

Send news tips and comments to jeremy_kirk@idg.com

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