Dutch Police Arrest Suspect in Pro-WikiLeaks Hacking


Cassell Bryan-Low and Jeannie Whalen
The Wall Street Journal

Dutch authorities said they arrested a 16-year-old boy suspected of being involved in attacks on the websites of MasterCard and Visa that were allegedly mounted by sympathizers of document-leaking website WikiLeaks.

Police arrested the suspect at his home in The Hague late Wednesday night and said he had acknowledged being involved in the attacks on the websites of the two credit-card companies, according to Wim de Bruin, a spokesman for the Dutch prosecution office.

Police also seized computers and data-storage devices.

The boy, whom authorities didn’t name but confirmed is Dutch, remains in custody and is due to appear before a judge on Friday. A lawyer for the boy couldn’t be reached.

Dutch police believe he is part of a larger group of WikiLeaks sympathizers behind the so-called denial-of-service attacks, in which computers flood a server to prevent it from displaying a Web page, Mr. de Bruin said. Dutch authorities say the group conducting the attacks are doing so under an effort called Operation Payback. The police are continuing their investigation, including exploring the potential involvement of others in the Netherlands.

MasterCard Inc. and Visa Europe, which both recently suspended payments to WikiLeaks, are among a growing list of organizations and individuals that have suffered online attacks in recent days, in what appears to be an effort by hackers bent on exacting revenge for the document-leaking website.

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