Australian police have charged a 17-year-old with numerous counts of unauthorised access to computer systems.

The youth, accused of being a member of hacking collective Anonymous, cannot be named for legal reasons.

The youth appeared in Parramatta Children's Court where he was formally charged with six counts of “unauthorised modification of data to cause impairment”, which carries a  maximum penalty of 10 years; one count of “unauthorised access with intent to commit a serious offence”, which also carried a maximum prison sentence of 10 years; one count of “possession of data with intent to commit a computer offence”, which carries a maximum terms of three years imprisonment; and 12 counts of “unauthorised access to restricted data”, which carries a maximum prison sentence of two years.

No further details of the attacks were revealed, such as the target, when it happened or how successful it was.

The Australian Federal Police (AFP) released a statement saying the youth is “suspected to be a member of the online issue motivated group ‘Anonymous' and allegedly committed serious offences on their behalf”.

Commander Glen McEwen, manager of cyber crime operations, added: “Protesting through computer intrusions and website defacements is not an appropriate method to raise public awareness about any issue. The AFP investigates various types of cyber crime and will continue to take a strong stance against these perpetrators.”

The youth is scheduled to appear in court again on 17th May 2013, the statement said.