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13 Anonymous members indicted on federal charges

A federal grand jury on Thursday indicted 13 members of the Internet hacking group Anonymous for allegedly carrying out cyber-attacks worldwide, including targets that refused to process payments for WikiLeaks, the anti-secrecy website founded by Julian Assange.

The U.S.-based members of Anonymous are accused of zeroing in on the computers of governments, trade associations, law firms, financial institutions and other institutions that oppose the philosophy of Anonymous to make all information free for everyone, regardless of copyright laws or national security considerations.

The indictment filed in federal court in Alexandria, Va., says that from September 2010 to January 2011, Anonymous members participated in a campaign they called Operation Payback, using software known as the Low Orbit Ion Cannon to flood websites with huge amounts of Internet traffic to shut them down.

In December 2010, the conspirators discussed possible targets related to WikiLeaks, which received more than 700,000 documents and some battlefield video from Army Pvt. Chelsea Manning, the largest-volume leak of classified material in U.S. history.

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