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FBI issues warrants over pro-WikiLeaks attacks

More than 40 search warrants have been issued across the U.S. as part of an FBI investigation into the source of the recent cyberattacks orchestrated by pro-WikiLeaks activists.

The FBI is on the hunt for the hackers responsible for a recent wave of cyberattacks launched in defense of WikiLeaks.

FBI agents yesterday executed more than 40 search warrants in the United States as part of their ongoing investigation. Pointing to the group Anonymous, which has taken responsibility for the attacks, the FBI said that the distributed denial of service (DDoS) assaults were facilitated by software the group makes available as free downloads.

Late last year, PayPal, Visa, MasterCard, and other companies were hit by DDoS attacks triggered by activists in support of WikiLeaks after the companies cut off sources of funding to the whistle-blowing site.

The FBI apparently started its investigation after it was contacted by PayPal in December and was able to trace two of the IP addresses provided by PayPal to physical locations, one of which was in Texas where the agency seized a server.

Looking beyond the United States, the FBI said it's working with other law enforcement agencies abroad. Officials in the Netherlands, Germany, and France are each conducting their own probes into the cyberattacks, while police in the U.K. arrested five people yesterday on suspicion of involvement in the attacks launched by Anonymous.

Additionally, an organization called the National Cyber-Forensics and Training Alliance is lending a hand in the investigations. With a focus on cybercrime, the group provides a bridge between the private sector and law enforcement agencies and has worked directly with the FBI in the past.

Those who facilitate or conduct a DDoS attack face up to 10 years in prison and civil fines over damages, according to the FBI.