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Fort Collins Cyberattack Suspect Freed On Bail

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Vincent Charles Kershaw (credit: MySpace)

Vincent Charles Kershaw (credit: MySpace)

DENVER (CBS4) – Federal agents say a man from Fort Collins is one of 14 people arrested in nine states and Washington, D.C. accused of mounting a cyberattack.

Vincent Charles Kershaw, 27, of Fort Collins was in federal court in Denver Wednesday for a bond hearing and is now out of jail.

Law enforcement confiscated Kershaw’s computer in Tuesday’s raid. Investigators say Kershaw and others used their computers to attack the PayPal website, which they effectively paralyzed.

In simultaneous raids across the country Tuesday FBI agents rounded up 14 alleged members of the loose-knit group called “Anonymous” that’s taken credit for several recent hacking attacks.

The latest round of arrests was for the attack on PayPal last December after the company stopped processing payments to WikiLeaks.

Kershaw’s Facebook page says he’s a foreman at a landscaping company and graduated from Poudre High School.

The word from insiders of the investigation is that Kershaw and the others arrested are not leaders in hacking protest group Anonymous. Instead they are volunteers who carried out the attack.

A man, who asked CBS News to hide his identity, claimed to be an organizer for Anonymous. He calls himself “Commander X.”

“The power of Anonymous is that we have the ability to effect change on the Internet,” Commander X said. “You have a site online, all of a sudden, we snap our fingers and that site is gone.”

Their preferred weapon is a “denial of service” attack. Hackers send a huge volume of requests for information to websites, which get overwhelmed and shut down.

Commander X says the attacks are for a cause.

“That process is the equivalent of a virtual sit-in. It’s no different really than taking up seats at the Woolworth lunch counter during the civil rights movement in the 1950s and 1960s,” he said.

The federal indictment that was unsealed Tuesday says that the suspects are indicted for “intentional damage to a protected computer.” It simply says that the damage was over $5,000.

The judge released Kershaw on bond and set his next hearing for Sept. 1 in San Jose, Calif.

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