TECH
12/09/2010 04:34 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

16-Year-Old Arrested For Pro-WikiLeaks Cyber Attacks

Dutch police arrested a 16-year-old teenager on Wednesday for his involvement in the online attacks against Visa and Mastercard, organized by supporters of WikiLeaks.

According to a press release by the Netherlands' Public Prosecution Service, the boy has confessed to participating in the attacks. They believe he is a part of a much larger group of hackers, who they are in the process of tracking down.

Once it became apparent that some of the hacking attempts originated in the Netherlands, the High Tech Crime Team began their investigation into the matter. The arrested teen has had his computer equipment seized and is scheduled to appear in court Friday in Rotterdam.

News of the arrest comes just as WikiLeaks sympathizers have mobilized to carry out attacks against sites that have cut off support of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. Following WikiLeaks' release of U.S. diplomatic cables, the U.S. government has asserted heavy pressure on sites like Mastercard, Visa, PayPal and others to cease dealings with the document-leaking site. Twitter and Facebook have also shut down pages associated with WikiLeaks.

Using denial-of-service attacks that send streams of meaningless traffic to the websites' servers, Anonymous, a group of pro-WikiLeaks hackers spearheading "Operation Payback," have thus far managed to shut down the sites of Mastercard and Visa, with PayPal and Amazon listed as targets for further attack. Assange is currently being held in a London jail in connection to a Swedish rape case against him.