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22 Year-Old UK Hacker Christopher Weatherhead Convicted in PayPal DDoS Attack Over Wikileaks Blockade

Christopher Weatherhead, the 22 year old Anonymous member who went by the name of Nerdo, has been convicted by a UK jury of taking part in the 2010 DDoS attack on PayPal, Mastercard and Visa after they cut off donations to Wikileaks.

Three of Weatherhead’s fellow Anonymous members — Peter Gibson, 24, Ashley Rhodes, 28, and Jake Birchall, 18 — already pleaded guilty.  Weatherhead claimed that he was not a participant in the hack, but merely an observer who served as an Anonymous chatroom operator.  He admitted in court, however, that he was sympathetic to their goals.

Paypal, the company whose security technology evolved into mega US defense contractor Palantir, estimated its losses at $5.6 million as a result of the attack.   In 2011, Palantir suffered no consequences for using software developed for use against terrorists on US journalists and activists including Glenn Greenwald.

Says RT’s Laura Smith:

Computer activists here in the UK are saying that criminal justice system really by finding Christopher Weatherhead guilty is sending a message that financial institutions can cut off organizations with impunity, but when the people try to fight back, the full force of the law comes down on them.

Weatherhead and the other three will face sentencing later in the year.  He could receive up to 10 years, a sentence comparable in the UK to that imposed for sex offenses involving children, rioting and burglary with intent to rape.

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Jane Hamsher

Jane Hamsher

Jane is the founder of Firedoglake.com. Her work has also appeared on the Huffington Post, Alternet and The American Prospect. She’s the author of the best selling book Killer Instinct and has produced such films Natural Born Killers and Permanent Midnight. She lives in Washington DC.
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