LONDON: British police arrested five people on suspicion of involvement in recent cyberattacks conducted by an Internet hacking group that has backed WikiLeaks.
The five males, aged from 15 to 26, were arrested during an early morning raid at their homes across Britain on Tuesday for their alleged involvement in hacking several company websites.
Police say the cyberattacks were carried out by an online group called Anonymous, a loose-knit collection of activists that has attacked websites of companies that have severed links with WikiLeaks since the organisation began publishing its massive trove of secret US diplomatic cables.
The group of so-called "hacktivists" became well known last year when it targeted companies, including Visa, Mastercard and Paypal, shutting down their websites by overloading their servers with a barrage of online traffic.
Supporters of WikiLeaks accused the companies of trying to stifle WikiLeaks when they cut their links to the group.
The raids were part of a police probe into Anonymous carried out together with law enforcement agencies in Europe and the United Stataes, police said. WikiLeaks said it did not sanction retaliatory attacks by Anonymous.
People convicted of computer misuse offenses in Britain face up to 10 years in jail and a £5,000 fine. - AP