Update (4:42 p.m. EDT): Fox News is now reporting that 16 people have been arrested, but CBS is sticking with 14. The updated Fox report says the arrests came in conjunction with some 40 search warrants nationwide.
Update (6:04 p.m. EDT): The Department of Justice has confirmed the arrest of 16 individuals for various roles in cyber attacks, 14 of whom were involved in the attack on Pay Pal known as Operation Payback. In a press release, the DOJ confirms that the individuals arrested are affiliated with Anonymous and notes that two related arrests were made in the U.K. and the Netherlands. The release explains the charges were filed in a San Diego district court:
The San Jose indictment alleges that in retribution for PayPal’s termination of WikiLeaks’ donation account, a group calling itself Anonymous coordinated and executed distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks against PayPal’s computer servers using an open source computer program the group makes available for free download on the Internet. DDoS attacks are attempts to render computers unavailable to users through a variety of means, including saturating the target computers or networks with external communications requests, thereby denying service to legitimate users. According to the indictment, Anonymous referred to the DDoS attacks on PayPal as “Operation Avenge Assange.”
The hacker handles of those arrested don't appear to match known Anonymous members like Sabu, Topiary or Kayla, but all match the young male profile:
The individuals named in the San Jose indictment are: Christopher Wayne Cooper, 23, aka “Anthrophobic;” Joshua John Covelli, 26, aka “Absolem” and “Toxic;” Keith Wilson Downey, 26; Mercedes Renee Haefer, 20, aka “No” and “MMMM;” Donald Husband, 29, aka “Ananon;” Vincent Charles Kershaw, 27, aka “Trivette,” “Triv” and “Reaper;” Ethan Miles, 33; James C. Murphy, 36; Drew Alan Phillips, 26, aka “Drew010;” Jeffrey Puglisi, 28, aka “Jeffer,” “Jefferp” and “Ji;” Daniel Sullivan, 22; Tracy Ann Valenzuela, 42; and Christopher Quang Vo, 22. One individual’s name has been withheld by the court.
The maximum penalty for the hackers offenses is ten years in jail and a $250,000 fine.
Update (6:51 p.m. EDT) In a conversation in a chat channel set aside for press, involved a user named Topiary, who has been cited as a core member of Anonymous and LulzSec, and who curates the LulzSec Twitter stream.
"It's our belief that the FBI are continuously hitting volunteer/supporter DDoS Anons who accidentally (or just foolishly) used LOIC from their home IPs," Topiary said. "Note the raid reason: DDoS."
He was referring to the distributed denial of service attacks cited by the FBI as the reason for the searches and arrests. The high-profile attacks by Anonymous offshoot Lulz Security mostly involved leaking private data from companies such as Sony or agencies such as the Arizona Department of Public Safety.