A British student named Christopher Weatherhead was convicted today for his part in a series of cyber-attacks against companies that froze payments to WikiLeaks following its release of classified documents in 2010.
Mr. Weatherhead, who adopted the moniker “Nerdo,” was charged with playing a central role in an Anonymous DDOS campaign against companies such as PayPal, Visa and Mastercard, as the hacker collective joined the fray when the payments companies clamped down on WikiLeaks fundraising.
Dubbed “Operation Payback,” the attacks were said to have disrupted PayPal for 10 days, leading users who tried to visit the payment company’s website to a page displaying the text, “You’ve tried to bite the Anonymous hand. You angered the hive and now you are being stung.”
According to the Guardian, the 22-year-old Mr. Weatherhead denied the charges:
He refused to admit that he had been part of the actual attacks, claiming to have been the communications manager for Anonymous and the creator of online chatrooms where the attacks were planned.
The jury convicted the 22-year-old student, who apparently dreamed of working for Amazon or Google, after deliberating for little more than two hours. He will be sentenced along with three co-conspirators who had already pleaded guilty at a later date.