London police on Thursday charged two boys and three men for their role in launching distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks against commercial websites.
The males, ages 15, 16, 19, 20 and 26, were arrested at their homes during early-morning raids and were charged under the Computer Misuse Act, according to a news release. They were brought to local police stations for processing.
Authorities believe the suspects are connected to the Anonymous hacking group, a loosely affiliated band of web savvy, politically motivated individuals. The hacktivist gang is being investigated for its role in taking down a number of high-profile websites, including Visa and PayPal, after those companies decided to cut ties with WikiLeaks following the whistleblower site's disclosure of thousands of U.S. diplomatic cables.
Anonymous rose to prominence three years ago when it claimed responsibility for DDoS attacks against the Church of Scientology's official website. Law enforcement in Europe and the United States are leading the investigation.
In the days after it began releasing the cables, WikiLeaks also bore the brunt of DDoS attacks. A hacker, known as "The Jester," took responsibility, though it does not appear he has ever been charged.
WikiLeaks is now hosted on wikileaks.ch.