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13 members of Anonymous indicted

WASHINGTON — A grand jury on Thursday indicted 13 members of the Internet hacking group Anonymous, alleging they carried out cyberattacks worldwide.

The US-based defendants are accused of zeroing in on the computers of governments, trade associations, law firms, financial institutions, and others that oppose the philosophy of Anonymous to make all information free, regardless of copyright laws or national security issues.

The indictment, filed in federal court in Alexandria, Va., says that from September 2010 to January 2011, Anonymous members participated in a campaign called Operation Payback to flood websites with enough traffic to shut them down. Anonymous allegedly focused in part on websites that were critical of WikiLeaks or had refused to process payments for it, including MasterCard and Visa.

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The 13 were charged with conspiring to cause damage to protected computers.