Thirteen people have pleaded guilty to charges connected to a 2010 cyberattack on PayPal for the eBay unit's refusal to process payments for WikiLeaks.
The hacktivist collective claimed responsibility for engineering the December 2010 distributed-denial-of-service attack in retaliation for the online payment processing company's suspension of an account linked to WikiLeaks after the document-leaking organization released a large number of classified documents.
"Citing violations of the PayPal terms of service, and in response to WikiLeaks' release of the classified cables, PayPal suspended WikiLeaks' accounts such that WikiLeaks could no longer receive donations via PayPal," US Attorney Melinda Haag in San Francisco said Friday in a statement. "WikiLeaks' website declared that PayPal's action 'tried to economically strangle WikiLeaks.'"
Ten of the defendants pleaded guilty Thursday to one misdemeanor count of damaging a protected computer and one felony count of conspiracy, which they will be allowed to change to a misdemeanor at sentencing if they do not violate the terms of their plea agreement, according to the US attorney's statement. The remaining three pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor count each related to the attack, according to the statement.