Blood Shed In War Between FBI, PayPal & Anonymous

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The war between Anonymous and PayPal has escalated with PayPal giving the FBI 1,000 IP addresses belonging to Anonymous members. Anonymous has retaliated, but how much collective power does the hactivist group have?

Last year Anonymous launched an attack on PayPal’s servers. Since then PayPal has not been sitting idly by, generating 1,000 digital footprints that fit the bill of Anonymous hackers which they’ve handed over to the FBI.

Motivated by PayPal’s withholding of funds from Wikileaks, Anonymous orchestrated a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack against PayPal, Amazon, Visa and Mastercard in December.

According to a PCmag report, the 1,000 IP addresses have empowered the FBI with enough cause to execute search warrants and raids against the suspected members of the hactivist group.

An FBI affidavit documented the procuring of the alleged Anonymous IP addresses by PayPal, made possible through coding that contained keywords such as ‘wikileaks.’

The FBI is coordinating their efforts with UK and Netherland authorities resulting in a number of arrests, in addition to the several arrests made last month.

Read: FBI Raid Anonymous Members, Arrest 14

Anonymous has concentrated their efforts in retaliation against PayPal in an operation known as OpPayPal, inspiring its followers to immediately close their PayPal accounts. In an official ‘communique from Anonymous and Lulz security’, they said:

 

 “We encourage anyone using PayPal to immediately close their accounts and consider an alternative. The first step to being truly free is not putting one’s trust into a company that freezes accounts when it feels like, or when it is pressured by the U.S. government. PayPal’s willingness to fold to legislation should be proof enough that they don’t deserve the customers they get. They do not deserve your business, and they do not deserve your respect.”

The Anonymous communication also voiced the group’s distaste in government sanctioning, revealing their members may face a US$500,000 fine and up to 15 years gaol time.

“Law enforcement continues to push its ridiculous rules upon us – Anonymous “suspects” may face a fine of up to 500,000 USD with the addition of 15 years’ jailtime, all for taking part in a historical activist movement. Many of the already-apprehended Anons are being charged with taking part in DDoS attacks against corrupt and greedy organizations, such as PayPal.”

According to a recent @anonymousIRC tweet, they believe “at least 35,000” PayPal accounts have been closed since the operation’s launch. Anonymous also claim that at one stage PayPal’s shut down its close account website. They continued to barrage PayPal, urging followers to close their accounts by phone or by trying its site again tomorrow, with Twitter followers voicing their contributions.

A day later PayPal released a statement saying they “haven’t seen any changes to [their] normal operations (including account opening and closing) overnight.” Since then, they have yet to comment, conjuring speculation on Anonymous’ influence, and if it is in fact as revolutionary as their talk makes out.

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