The distributed denial of service attack (DDoS) from hacktivist Anonymous has cost PayPal more than €4.3 million. The attack which was named Operation Payback were initially aimed at companies that opposed internet piracy, but switched to companies like Mastercard, Visa and PayPal after they refused to process payments to WikiLeaks. After that attack PayPal -the global leader in online money transfer and payments has paid around £3.5 million defend and arm itself against such kind distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks. In a report BBC said that more than one hundred skilled employees from eBay, PayPal’s parent company, spent almost three weeks working on DDoS-attack-related issues and that PayPal had bought software and hardware to defend itself against further attacks. In all, the total cost of this work came to £3.5 million. This details have been revealed in a court case at Southwark Crown Court where a defendant, Christopher Weatherhead (studying at Northampton University when who allegedly took part in the campaign), is facing charges of conspiring to impair the operation of computers. He has pleaded not guilty to conspiring to impair the operation of computers between 1 August 2010 and 22 January 2011.
Sandip Patel, prosecuting, said the group caused PayPal “enormous economic harm”. Mr Patel said they used distributed denial of service, or DDoS, which flooded the targets computers with enormous amounts of online requests. Target websites would crash and users would 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.”
Mr Patel said: “This case, simply put, is about hackers who used the internet to attack and disable computer systems – colloquially described as cyber-attackers or vandals.” He said Mr Weatherhead, who used the online name Nerdo, posted plans on an Internet Relay Chat (IRC) channel encouraging an attack on PayPal.
He said PayPal was the victim of a series of attacks “which caused considerable damage to its reputation and loss of trade”.