The prosecution in the trial of alleged Anonymous hacker Christopher Weatherhead contends that the group's attack on PayPal's Web site as part of Operation Payback cost the company £3.5 million.

"Christopher Weatherhead is alleged to have joined forces with Anonymous hacktivists to stage an attack against PayPal over its refusal to process payments related to the funding of whistleblowing website Wikileaks," writes IT PRO's Caroline Donnelly. "Weatherhead, who was studying at Northampton University when the attacks took place, has pleaded not guilty to conspiring to impair the operation of computers between 1 August 2010 and 22 January 2011."

"Apart from Weatherhead, the jury at Southwark Crown Court in London were told Ashley Rhodes from Camberwell; Peter Gibson from Hartlepool; and an 18-year-old male who cannot be named for legal reasons have already pleaded guilty to the charge," Computer Business Review reports.


"Sandip Patel, prosecuting, said the group caused PayPal 'enormous economic harm.' ... He said PayPal was the victim of a series of attacks 'which caused considerable damage to its reputation and loss of trade,'" BBC News reports. "More than 100 workers from PayPal's parent company, eBay, spent three weeks working on issues related to the attacks, said Mr Patel."

"PayPal also had to pay for further software and hardware to defend against similar future attacks," The Telegraph reports. "Mr Patel said that this, combined with the loss of trading, led to the £3.5 million loss. The case showed the 'dark side' of the Internet and the group's attacks were 'split into organised and co-ordinated attacks almost along military lines,' he added."