Separately, FBI agents executed more than 35 search warrants around the country in an ongoing investigation into coordinated cyberattacks against major companies and organizations.
As part of the effort, there were two arrests in the United States unrelated to the attack on the PayPal payment service. Overseas, one person was arrested by Scotland Yard in Britain, and there were four arrests by the Dutch National Police Agency, all for alleged cybercrimes.
In one case unrelated to PayPal and filed in New Jersey, a customer support contractor was charged with stealing confidential business information on AT&T’s servers. The data was posted on a public file sharing site, and defendant Lance Moore, 21, of Las Cruces, N.M., was accused of exceeding his authorized access to AT&T’s servers in downloading thousands of documents and applications.
According to court papers, the documents the contractor uploaded were the same ones publicized last month by the computer hacking group Lulz Security, or LulzSec, which said it had obtained confidential AT&T documents and made them publicly available on the Internet.
The 16-year-old detained in England is thought to be connected to LulzSec, according to a U.K. official familiar with the investigation. The official spoke on condition that his position not be disclosed because he wasn’t authorized to officially release the information.
A hacker with LulzSec did not immediately return a message seeking comment early Wednesday. The group’s Twitter feed made no mention of any arrests, although “Sabu,” a reputed member of the six-person collective, posted a message to the micro-blogging site saying the hackers couldn’t confirm a report that one their own had been detained.
The cyberattacks on PayPal’s website by the group called Anonymous followed the release by WikiLeaks in November of thousands of classified State Department cables.
Anonymous is a loosely organized group of hackers sympathetic to WikiLeaks. It has claimed responsibility for attacks against corporate and government websites worldwide.