FBI Raids in New York and California Target Anonymous
Agents searched homes, questioned people, and confiscated equipment
FBI agents raided homes in New York today, investigating people allegedly involved with the hactivist collective Anonymous. They also raided locations in California, but details of those searches aren't yet available. Kelly Langmesser, a spokeswoman for the Federal Bureau of Investigation, said the agency is investigating "coordinated denial of service attacks" against U.S. companies.
Langmesser said three raids, in Baldwin and Merrick, on Long Island, and Brooklyn, in New York City, happened earlier this morning. But a CBS News story from later in the morning said a fourth residence, in the Bronx, had also been searched. Langmesser said agents had taken computer hardware and questioned several people, but they hadn't made any arrests. The FBI declined to name the targets of its raids, but Fox New York, which broke the raid story, identified Giordani Jordan as the person questioned in Baldwin.
Update: The FBI has confirmed it made several arrests in a coordinated, muti-state operation today
Today's raids were not the first to target Anonymous and its splinter group Lulz Security. At the end of June, FBI agents raided homes in Ohio and Iowa, and British police arrested one teenager in connection with LulzSec's antics. Spanish police arrested three people on June 10 in connection with a hack into Sony's Playstation Network, and Turkish police arrested 32 people the same day. But so far, no arrests have taken place in the United States. LulzSec itself revealed the addresses of two of its former members who it said leaked chat logs, and one of those appears to have been the target of an FBI raid on June 27. Another affiliate, Laurelai Bailey, said she was raided several days earlier. Many online vigilantes, in addition to the FBI, have been searching for the hacker known as Sabu, widely credited as being the ringleader of LulzSec. One such group identified him as Xavier Monsegur, of New York, but he has vaguely denied that via Twitter.
The raids this morning don't appear to be related to yesterday's prank by LulzSec, which claimed credit for hacking the website of News International's The Sun, and planting a fake story that Rupert Murdoch had died. Langmesser wouldn't confirm that the raid was related to LulzSec, saying only that the targets of the investigation had carried out DDoS attacks against U.S. companies. "Look back in your research and put the pieces together," she said.
Some recent high-profile attacks come to mind: Anonymous has been connected to the breach that brought down the Playstation Network this spring (though it has denied involvement there). It also took credit for a DDoS attack against Bank of America on December 27, as well as the attacks that brought down Mastercard and PayPal a few days earlier when those companies stopped accepting donations for Wikileaks. Then there was the LulzSec dump of Arizona law enforcement data, but that wasn't a DDoS. LulzSec also targeted FBI contractors, including in the recent breach at Booz Allen, but again, those weren't DDoS attacks but rather data leaks. And the targets were really law enforcement, not corporations.