British Anonymous hackers grilled in court

A gang of Anonymous hackers boasted there was ‘next to zero’ chance they would be caught, a UK court was told.

The group brought down websites belonging to PayPal and Mastercard under ‘Operation Payback’. According to the Daily Mail Southwark Crown Court heard how Northampton University student Christopher Weatherhead, 22, who used the online handle ‘Nerdo’, played an ‘integral role’ in the attacks.

Ashley Rhodes, 28, Peter Gibson, 24, and an 18-year-old who cannot be named, have already admitted that they were involved.

Prosecutor Sandip Patel said one user, who was interested in being involved in the Denial of Service attacks, asked what would happen if they got caught. He or she said they were told the chances were “next to zero” because so many were involved.

The hackers in the gang told them it was possible to deny knowing what they are talking about, or say you have been infected by a virus.

They were warned that the strength of the attack depended on everyone doing it at the same time. If people acted alone they were more likely to be caught.

Anonymous hacker Nerdo caused ‘enormous economic harm’ to PayPal after it refused payments to WikiLeaks, the court has been told.

The online payments firm PayPal suffered losses of £3.5million, it was claimed, while sites belonging to Mastercard and recording industry bodies were forced offline. Paypal’s most recent yearly takings were $1.4 billion.

Jurors heard Weatherhead was an administrator of Anonymous sites which urged followers to carry out the attacks.  Weatherhead denies a charge of conspiracy.