London police have detained five individuals ages 15 to 26 in connection with an investigation into Anoymous, a "hacktivist" group responsible for attacks against companies websites like PayPal, Visa, Mastercard and Amazon that suspended accounts associated with leak site WikiLeaks. The investigation is a global effort, and includes law enforcement agencies in both the US and Europe.
Anonymous lacks any true hierarchical structure, and has called its organization a "leaderless movement." Thus, it may be difficult for law enforcement to ever fully investigate the scope of these attacks.
The Metropolitan Police Service didn't indentify the accused, nor did they directly link them to the group. In the US, efforts have been stepped up to identify anyone who may have been involved in the efforts here, although so far no arrests have been made. The UK five are charged with offenses under the Computer Misuse Act, passed by Parliament in 1990.
UK citizens convicted under that code could face jail terms of six months to 5 years depending on the crime, and fines of up to 5,000 British pounds ($7,900 USD).
Representatives for PayPal, Visa, and MasterCard -- all victims of Anonymous' attacks -- either declined or were unavailable to comment.