PayPal Inc. has won a partial victory in its effort to keep sensitive business records from the "Anonymous" defendants accused of hacking its servers. But a judge rejected the company’s bid to keep the material under a strict protective order, saying that was a civil-side move.
Attorneys for the group charged in the 2010 cyberattack on eBay Inc.’s PayPal subsidiary were hoping to subpoena a wide swath of information from the payments company relating to the attack. PayPal’s lawyers at Cooley were attempting to quash the entire request. If it was forced to comply, it was seeking to keep the materials designated as "for attorneys eyes only." In blocking the protective order, U.S. Magistrate Judge Paul Grewal suggested in his Thursday ruling that in a civil case the company may have had its way, but the burden of proof is higher in a criminal case.
Grewal said most of what the defense was seeking did not meet admissibility and specificity requirements, but that he would not grant the protective order either.
In the case, U.S. v Collins, 11-471, federal prosecutors accuse the defendants of taking part in a distributed denial of service, or DDoS, attack on PayPal’s computer servers, a crude form of hacking which barrages a computer network with outside communications until it can no longer function.
Grewal described the defense request as five categories of documents: those concerning the actual attacks; communications gathered by PayPal; financial loss information; information relating to Paypal’s network architecture, servers and hardware; and CPU load logs, network load logs and logs of the Radware security device.
The judge deemed the communications, including chat logs, inadmissible hearsay and said the requests related to the totality of PayPal’s networks amount to a fishing expedition.
It was only the information pertaining to computer-generated information chronicling the attacks that PayPal was ordered turn over.
One of the defendant’s lawyers, Palo Alto’s Thomas Nolan Jr. of Nolan, Armstrong & Barton, said that a new, more specific subpoena is being redrafted and will be filed soon.
Joshua Sisco is a reporter for The Recorder, a Legal affiliate based in San Francisco.