Federal prosecutors this morning charged 16 hackers linked to the Anonymous ring that targeted PayPal last year. Among those charged: Scott Matthew Arciszewski, a 21-year-old computer major at the University of Central Florida, who the feds say hacked into an FBI-linked firm then bragged about it on Twitter under his handle, @voodooKobra.
It didn't exactly take a crack investigative team to track Arciszewski down -- he came to the feds attention when he retweeted a post about his hacking directly to the FBI press office's official Twitter account.
Most of yesterday's arrests came in California, where the feds charged 14 people with attacking PayPal last year during "Operation Avenge Assange," an Anonymous-lead effort to punish the company for cutting ties to Wikileaks.
The group hurled distributed denial of service attacks at the site between Dec. 6 and Dec. 10, the feds say.
Arciszewski isn't accused to helping with those attacks. But according to his federal indictment, he hacked into a company called Tampa Bay Infraguard on June 21 and uploaded three files from its secure database. The company works with the FBI on "critical infrastructure protection," according to the feds.
A few minutes later, using his voodooKobra account, Arciszewski tweeted: "Infraguard Tampa has one hell of an exploit" with links to a site where he'd outlined how to evade the company's security.
He retweeted that link to two other accounts: @lulzsec -- another high-profile hacking collective -- and @FBIPressOffice.
After that, it didn't take a genius at FBI headquarters to track down Arciszewski to UCF. According to his facebook page, he's a North Fort Myers native and former Edison State College student inspired by Nicola Tesla and George Carlin.
It also seems clear, from his actions, that Arciszewski considers himself a "white hat" hacker -- the slice of computer intruders who infiltrate systems to show weaknesses to the authorities who can fix them, not to cause harm. Why else retweet his success to the FBI?
Even the feds agree that the harm he caused was minimal, based on his indictment. "The three files uploaded ... caused damage to the server by impairing the integrity of the server," prosecutors say.
On his twitter account, which is still online, Arciszewski frequently retweets activist hackers posts, including Anonymous biggie Sabu and lulzsec.
Here's his final post, from around 8 p.m. yesterday:
I have had a very bad day. I am stressed to the max.