Anonymous claims PayPal hack, password leak

The anniversary of the arrest of Guy Fawkes, the hero of Anonymous, has resulted in a number of internet attacks. Though it is now confirmed PayPal was not one of them.

Michelle Starr Science editor
Michelle Starr is CNET's science editor, and she hopes to get you as enthralled with the wonders of the universe as she is. When she's not daydreaming about flying through space, she's daydreaming about bats.
Michelle Starr
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On the anniversary of the arrest of Guy Fawkes, the hero of Anonymous, a number of website attacks and password leaks have taken place. The earlier claims of PayPal amongst them have been confirmed as untrue.

(Credit: Anonymous)

Guy Fawkes, who was part of the failed Gunpowder Plot to assassinate King James in 1604, became the symbol of Anonymous after the film V for Vendetta, which featured a vengeful anarchist in a Guy Fawkes mask overthrowing a fascist government. Now, in a move that seems to have profoundly misunderstood both Guy Fawkes and V for Vendetta, the non-group has attacked a number of websites, including the now-refuted claim of 28,000 leaked PayPal passwords.

Attacked sites include those of television studio NBC, replacing the Saturday Night Live and 30 Rock home pages with the Guy Fawkes nursery rhyme; a Lady Gaga fan site; an Australian website offering support for disabled people; ImageShack; and Symantec.

The passwords were said to have been linked from the Anonymous Press Twitter account in a Private Paste file that has since been removed.

PayPal, however, has said that Anonymous' claim that passwords were taken from users of the transaction website were spurious, telling ZDNet:

It appears that the exploit was not directed at PayPal after all; it was directed at a company called ZPanel. The original story that started this and was retweeted by some of the Anonymous Twitter handles has now been updated.

It's really hard to tell with Anonymous what's true and what isn't — but it seems that the PayPal attack announcement on Twitter was made in error, based on the story on Cyberwarnews, which has since admitted its error.