Christopher Weatherhead, who called himself "Nerdo" on the internet, was convicted of conspiracy to impair the operation of computers last week. A posh way of saying he was doing DDoS attacks under the Anonymous banner as part of the "Operation Payback" attack on big corporations.
According to The Register, police caught him after analysing IRC logs, with his main error being sticking with his "Nerdo" handle for a very long time, making it easy for cops to form an association between Weatherhead and his actions by simply looking him up on the internet. Here's how they did it:
"We then did some keyword searching and spent a lot of time looking social leakage. Combining all these elements we then identified the NICs of interest and did open source research on them. Weatherhead was easy to identify as he had been using the NIC of 'Nerdo' for quite some time."
So no matter how much you like your pretend internet name, it's a good idea to change it every once in a while. Especially if you spend your spare time taking part in DDoS attacks against Paypal and talking about it on IRC. [The Register]