(Reuters) - British police arrested five young men on Thursday as they and U.S. authorities conducted searches as part of a probe into Internet activists who carried out cyber attacks against groups they viewed as enemies of the WikiLeaks website.
"The arrests were related to recent 'distributed denial of service' (DDoS) attacks by an online group calling themselves Anonymous," London police said in a statement.
In the United States, the Federal Bureau of Investigation said that agents executed more than 40 search warrants as part of its investigation and that the attacks were facilitated by software the group made available for free on the Internet.
"The FBI is working closely with its international law enforcement partners and others to mitigate these threats," the agency said in a statement, adding that there were other, unspecified investigative and enforcement actions in the Netherlands, Germany and France.
WikiLeaks, which was founded by Australian-born Julian Assange, has disclosed classified U.S. diplomatic dispatches which included candid and embarrassing assessments of world leaders as well as classified documents related to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.