When a group of Dutch teens allegedly conducted cyberattacks against Mastercard and Visa, then the Dutch National Prosecutors website in early December they got more than they bargained for. In fact, two of them got nabbed by police in late afternoon raids on their homes and have future court dates to look forward to.
Dutch police arrested a 16-year-old boy from the Hague for participating in the web attacks as part of a grassroots push to support WikiLeaks, and another Dutch man, 19, from a different city, was arrested for admitting to flooding the website of the Dutch prosecutor.
The 19-year-old teen, Martijn Gonlag, recently spoke to TechEye about his ordeal, emphasising that while he has learned his lesson, at the same time, if he was ever in the same position again, he'd do it again "as I stand by my point."
"While I want to keep working for the things I believe in, I will of course do it now, as always, in legal ways," Gonlag told TechEye in an email interview.
"I'll have to appear in court, most likely, but there's also the possibility that they will drop charges," Gonlag added. "I'm currently at home and a free man. I was released on a Sunday afternoon after about 24 hours of being under arrest. The police confiscated my computer and my mobile phone, which they still have, and I might not get them back for a couple of months."
The arrest came as a bit of a surprise, "but not a complete surprise," Gonlag said: "The police came in to my home around 5PM with a eight-man team, while I was sleeping, yelling 'police! police!' and I woke up thinking it was some kind of practical joke by some friends until they actually stormed into my room.
"But to be honest, the police were quite kind and nice to me as soon as we left the house, and they took me to Utrecht, a place about two hours away from where I live. I was interrogated for a couple of hours on my first day in detention, and then a bit more on the next day, and then I was released and sent home."
After he was arrested at his home, the police allowed Gonlag to brush his teeth and go to the toilet, grab a few things to take with him. They did not handcuff him, either, he told TechEye.
According to Dutch police, both arrests were relatively easy to make, since both boys used LOIC (Low Orbit Ion Cannon) - a tool that doesn't offer security services such as anonymisation.
The university has warned that some Dutch hacktivists may not be aware that international data retention laws require that commercial internet providers store data regarding usage for at least six months.
This means hacktivists can still be easily traced after the attacks are over, according to reports.