FBI Raids Homes in N.Y., Calif. in Hunt for 'Anonymous' Hackers

FBI Raids Homes in N.Y., Calif. in Hunt for 'Anonymous' Hackers
The FBI today raided several homes in New York and California as part of an ongoing investigation into recent distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks allegedly launched by members of the Anonymous hacking group.

Fox News first reported the early morning raids. An FBI spokeswoman later confirmed to Computerworld that the agency was carrying out "law enforcement activity" related to an ongoing cyber investigation in both states.She declined to identify the targets of the raids or to confirm whether they were tied to Anonymous.

According to Fox, the FBI executed search warrants at the homes of three suspected members of Anonymous, two in Long Island and another in Brooklyn.

One of the individuals targeted was identified by Fox as Giordani Jordan, of Baldwin, N.Y. FBI agents were seen removing at least one computer from Jordan's home. Similar raids began in California starting at 6 a.m. PT, Fox said.

The raids come amid a recent spike in activity by Anonymous. Just last week, members of the group claimed credit for breaking into computers belonging to military contractor Booz Allen Hamilton and exposing the email addresses and passwords of over 90,000 military personnel.

Earlier this month, Anonymous was labeled a cyber terrorism group by the Arizona Department of Public Safety after members of the group repeatedly attacked Arizona police union websites to protest the state's tough immigration laws. And last December, Anonymous launched a series of DDoS attacks against several organizations such as PayPal and Amazon, to protest what it claimed were efforts to stifle whistleblower site WikiLeaks.

Today's FBI raids shouldn't come as a surprise, said Josh Shaul, CTO of Application Security Inc. "They got a lot of people angry," he said. "When you play with fire you are going to get burned."

What is unusual, however, is that some Anonymous members appeared to have put little effort into concealing their tracks, he said. "It seems like these folks who got caught were brazen and careless about the way they went about their hacking activity."

Many of the recent attacks by Anonymous and splinter group LulzSec appear to be focused on embarrassing the victims, not about outright data theft or sabotage. Even so, "they [law enforcement officials] are certainly going to want to make an example of anyone they can bring in," Shaul said.

Jaikumar Vijayan covers data security and privacy issues, financial services security and e-voting for Computerworld. Follow Jaikumar on Twitter at @jaivijayan or subscribe to Jaikumar's RSS feed . His e-mail address is jvijayan@computerworld.com .

Read more about cybercrime and hacking in Computerworld's Cybercrime and Hacking Topic Center.

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