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FBI arrests 16 in broad cyberattack crackdown

In a sweeping crackdown against cybercrime, the FBI on Tuesday arrested 14 people on charges stemming from their alleged involvement in a November attack on PayPal's website, the Department of Justice announced. Two others were arrested on similar charges.

One of indictments unsealed on Tuesday alleges that "in retribution for PayPal's termination of WikiLeaks' donation account, a group calling itself Anonymous coordinated and executed distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks against PayPal's computer servers using an open source computer program the group makes available for free download on the Internet."

The arrests were part of a concerted effort to rein in online attacks, the agency said, but this particular attack had been one chapter in an episode that led to massive disclosures about U.S. diplomacy abroad.

FBI agents executed more than 35 search warrants throughout the United States on Tuesday "as part of an ongoing investigation into coordinated cyberattacks against major companies and organizations," the Justice Department said.

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