Police catch Anonymous hacker with a simple Google search
22-year-old Christopher 'Nerdo' Weatherhead was convicted by U.K. Police for his role in a DDoS attack in 2010 and 2011 that cost PayPal approximately £3.5m ( $5.7 million U.S.).
Police in the United Kingdom recently busted a hacker, who referred to himself as ‘Nerdo’ on the Internet, when they performed a simple Google search of his name. ‘Nerdo’, whose real name is Christopher Weatherland, was charged with conspiracy to impair the operation of computers. Weatherhead was part of the ‘Anonymous’ hacktivist group that has often plagued many servers around the globe.
The U.K. Police caught Weatherhead because he made the mistake of using the same IRC network name for some time, thereby giving police a long trail of Internet history to track him by. A Detective Constable Trevor Dickey who worked on the case explained they basically did a simple keyword searching via Google. "We then did some keyword searching and spent a lot of time looking social leakage,” says Dickey. “Combining all these elements we then identified the NICs of interest and did open source research on them. Weatherhead was easy to identify as he had been using the NIC of ‘Nerdo' for quite some time."
According to a report from the U.K. based, The Register, Weatherland, 22, was studying at Northampton University when he took an active part in what was called "Operation Payback", which was a denial-of-service attack (DDoS) campaign that began when the on-line hacktivist group ‘Anonymous’ began a defense of the whistleblower site, Wikileaks.org. Between 2010 – January 2011, Weatherland, along with others involved with the hacktivist group, targeted many Internet media sites along with PayPal.com that blocked payment portals for donations to the Wikileaks site. PayPal says it cost the company approximately 5.7 million (U.S.).
The Guardian reports that an Ashley Rhodes, 27, of South London, a Peter Gibson, 24 of Hartlepool and an 18-year-old Jake Birchall had previously pleaded guilty in connection to the same case.