The FBI charged 14 people for their alleged involvement in an Anonymous-inspired attack on the PayPal website in December.
The hackivist collective Anonymous issued a call to arms last year after a number of corporate websites, including Visa and MasterCard, cut ties with WikiLeaks after the whistleblower group published secret US diplomatic cables, some of which exposed government wrongdoing.
In the case of PayPal, the online payment company severed its relationship with WikiLeaks after claiming the organization violated its terms of service.
The defendants, who live in nine states and the District of Columbia, were charged with damaging a protected computer and conspiracy, according to the US Department of Justice.
Participants downloaded and used the Low Orbit Ion Cannon network stress tool to launch co-ordinated DDoS attacks.
PayPal CSO Michael Barrett told SC previously that Anonymous members are typically male aged in their late teens to twenties. Those arrested fit the description.
He also called on industry to help identify the offenders.
arrests In addition to the 14 arrests, prosecutors in New Jersey on Tuesday also unsealed a complaint against Lance Moore, 21. He is charged with stealing internal data stored on AT&T's servers and posting it to a file-sharing site.
Moore was a customer support contractor who exceeded his authorised privileges to siphon the files, prosecutors said.
They said the documents then were published by Anonymous offshoot LulzSec, one of the final caches dumped by the group before it announced its retirement in late June.
LulzSec, however, appears to have returned, claiming responsibility Monday with defacing the home page of the Rupert Murdoch-owned The Sun newspaper with a story purporting the embattled media mogul had been found dead.
LulzSec also briefly redirected people visiting the newspaper to its Twitter account. The group also said it obtained and planned to soon release emails belonging to employees at The Sun and the now-defunct News of the World, which is also owned by Murdoch.
Also on Tuesday, federal authorities charged a 21-year-old with accessing the InfraGard Group to upload three malicious files, prosecutors said.
The man, Scott Arciszewski, then tweeted instructions on how followers could exploit the InfraGard chapter's website.
But despite all of the arrests, the enforcement actions likely will do little to end what has been a dizzying string of politically motivated breaches, industry observers said.
"It's likely that the people arrested are merely pawns, and while they may be made an example of, their arrests will likely have little-to-no-short term impact on the hacktivist attacks," said Andrew Herlands, who directs security strategy at Application Security Inc.