Five young men have been arrested in the U.K. in an investigation into the continued distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks levied by the international script-kiddie movement know as Anonymous.
A report form ABC News states:
"The five males aged 15, 16, 19, 20 and 26 are being held after a series of coordinated arrests at residential addresses," a statement said.
"The arrests are in relation to recent and ongoing 'distributed denial of service' attacks (DDoS) by an online group calling themselves 'Anonymous'.
"They are part of an ongoing MPS investigation into Anonymous which began last year following criminal allegations of DDoS attacks by the group against several companies.
"This investigation is being carried out in conjunction with international law enforcement agencies in Europe and the US."
Anonymous has most recently turned their DDoS attacks on Egyptian government websites, with reports indicating that the Ministry of the Interior (MOI) website and Ministry of Communications and Information Technology have been targeted.
Anonymous had previously targeted the websites of PayPal, Visa, MasterCard, PostFinance Bank, Amazon, Bank of America and others who had halted business relations with WikiLeaks.
The group has also launched attacks against the websites of Senator Joe Lieberman and Sarah Palin for speaking out against the WikiLeaks data dumps.
The downloadable DDoS tool distributed by Anonymous called the Low Orbit Ion Cannon (LOIC) leaves unwitting attack participants vulnerable to identification by authorities, and may have resulted in the U.K. arrests.
A hacktivist known only as The Jester (th3j35t3r) confirmed in mid-January rumors that he had "infected" the latest version of the tool by making alterations to the DHN.zip file circulating on the web.
Anonymous DDoS attackers are typically teenagers and young adults who have little or no understanding of the risks and legal repercussions that can stem from participating in the attacks, and most operate under the misconception that they can not be identified by authorities.
In the U.K. it is a criminal offense to undertake "any unauthorized act in relation to a computer". Conviction can result in an $8,000 fine and up to ten years in prison.
More arrests are expected internationally as investigations progress.