A teenager was arrested in south London yesterday as part of an FBI crackdown on internet hacking group Anonymous, that has attacked a number of high-profile targets.

Police believe Anonymous launched an attack on PayPal’s website in December as payback after it suspended accounts held by WikiLeaks. Fourteen other people in the US, aged between 20 and 42, have been arrested in connection.

The 16-year-old was taken to a police station in central London, where he is still in custody on suspicion of braking the Computer Misuse Act 1990.

In the past, the police have claimed responsibility for breaking into Apple servers earlier this month, temporarily shutting down MasterCard and Visa’s sites in December and attacking the website of the Church of Scientology.

The police believe Anonymous is made up of hackers in their teens and early twenties. They are believed to have teamed up with a hacking group named Lulz Security, that has breached the websites of both Sony and the CIA.

One of the 14 arrested in the US was university student Mercedes Renee Haefer, 20. Her lawyer, Stanley L Cohen, said: “The people being arrested are not being accused of acts of violence.”