Alleged Hacker on Trial in UK over PayPal DDoS Attacks
By Ina Steiner
Two years ago, activists launched multiple DDoS attacks against eBay's PayPal unit and other websites after they suspended Julian Assange's Wikileaks account. At the time, PayPal spokesperson Anuj Nayar told EcommerceBytes that no transactions had been affected, but the site "may have been a little slower."
But in a UK court on Thursday, prosecutors said the attack caused "enormous economic harm" and cost PayPal 3.5 million pounds as an alleged participant in the attack stood trial. The then 20-year-old UK student pleaded not guilty to conspiring to impair the operation of computers between August 2010 and January 2011, according to UK media reports.
The BBC said government prosecutor Sandip Patel called PayPal the victim of a series of attacks that caused considerable damage to its reputation and loss of trade. "More than 100 workers from PayPal's parent company, eBay, spent three weeks working on issues related to the attacks," said Mr Patel," and PayPal also had to pay for more software and hardware to defend against similar attacks in the future.
The Telegraph said hackers carried out distributed denial of service attacks by flooding PayPal servers with an intolerable number of online requests. "Victims of attacks would find their website would suddenly crash and be directed to a page displaying the message: "You've tried to bite the Anonymous hand. You angered the hive and now you are being stung.""
PayPal released Wikileaks' funds after the attack and stirred controversy when a PayPal executive referenced a letter from the U.S. State Department as the cause of the release.
The trial is ongoing in the UK.
About the author:
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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