Twitter engineer indicted with others in alleged Operation Payback cyber attacks

A 27-year-old Twitter site reliability engineer is among 13 suspects indicted last week in Virginia for allegedly helping the hacktivist collective known as Anonymous with its 2010 Operation Payback denial-of-service attacks against Bank of America, MasterCard and others.

Ryan Gubele, a former contract employee for Amazon, started working for Twitter in June and is still employed there, according to a report in The Verge.

Gubele, who declined to comment, is accused in the indictment of monitoring the effectiveness of a DDoS attack against the Motion Picture Association of America site and issued warnings when the site was moved to a different IP address, according to a report in Help Net Security.

He was indicted along with an unlikely group of accused hackers that included 65-year-old Geoffrey Kenneth Commander, 53-year-old Dennis Owen Collins and 28-year-old Phillip Simpson, who has worked since 2009 as a system administrator in various companies and at the University of Arizona, and is currently working for a bar exam review service, according to Help Net Security.

The indictments are the latest law enforcement crackdown aimed at Anonymous following a coordinated series of cyber attacks against the Recording Industry Association of America, the Motion Picture Association of America, U.S. Copyright Office, Library of Congress, Visa, MasterCard, Bank of America, Amazon, and others, according to Help Net Security.

The U.S. Department of Justice’s 28-page indictment alleges the 13 men helped Anonymous disrupt or cause the collapse of websites for refusing to process donations made to WikiLeaks, the group that published leaked U.S. diplomatic cables, according to The Verge. Others came under fire for supporting antipiracy efforts.

In the indictment, federal prosecutors allege that Gubele also illegally accessed computer systems of at least one of the targets during Operation Payback, which began in September 2010 and ended the following January, according to The Verge.

Gubele’s LinkedIn profile shows he began working for Amazon in August 2010 and left in January when Operation Payback ended. The indictment does not say whether Gubele played any role in the December 2010 attack on Amazon, according to The Verge.

Photo courtesy of  U.S. Department of Justice



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