The FBI announced Thursday that it has executed 40 search warrants throughout the country in connection with a series of coordinated cyber attacks against "major companies and organizations."
The search warrants appeared to be related to the flood of cyber attacks late last year executed against PayPal, Visa and other companies that had stopped doing business with WikiLeaks. The attacks allegedly were executed by a group known as "Anonymous" and were done to protest the companies' decisions to stop doing business with WikiLeaks.
Several U.S. lawmakers called on businesses that had been doing business with WikiLeaks to cut their ties with the anti-secrecy group after it released thousands of secret and classified U.S. documents.
In December, PayPal General Counsel John Muller said his company restricted WikiLeak's "account based on our Acceptable Use Policy review. Ultimately, our difficult decision was based on a belief that the WikiLeaks website was encouraging sources to release classified material, which is likely a violation of law by the source."
The FBI did not specifically say the search warrants were connected to the WikiLeaks attacks. However, the agency said the distributed denial of service attacks, which flood a computer network's ability to function with useless commands and information, were conducted by the group known as "Anonymous," which had claimed responsibility for the attacks in protest of the actions against WikiLeaks.
The FBI said Britain's Metropolitan Police Service "executed additional search warrants and arrested five people for their alleged role in the attacks."