Law enforcement officers working in Spain, Argentina, Chile and Columbia have arrested 25 individuals believed to be connected with the hacking collective Anonymous.
The international ‘Operation Unmask’ was launched by Interpol earlier this month following attacks on Chile’s Endesa electricity company, its National Library, and Columbia’s Ministry of Defence and presidential sites, among others.
Reuters also reports that one of the four suspects arrested in the Spanish cities of Malaga and Madrid released information about the police officers and bodyguards protecting the Spanish royal family and prime minister.
According to a statement from the National Police, another captured suspect, identified by his initials and aliases “Thunder” and “Pacotron”, was responsible for Anonymous’ Spain and South America operations.
Working as part of Interpol’s broader Latin American Working Group of Expert on Information Technology Crime, officers in the four countries seized approximately 250 items of IT equipment, including mobile phones, as well as payment cards and cash. The 25 alleged hackers, aged 17 to 40, were arrested during searches of 40 premises in 15 cities.
“This operation shows that crime in the virtual world does have real consequences for those involved, and that the Internet cannot be seen as a safe haven for criminal activity, no matter where it originates or where it is targeted,” said acting Interpol executive director of police services, Bernd Rossbach, in a statement.
Anonymous retaliated to the arrests on Tuesday by launching a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack on Interpol’s website. One Anonymous Twitter account, @AnonymousIRC, tweeted: “And http://www.interpol.int is #TangoDown again. This time we’re pretty sure it’s no coincidence. They poked the hive”.
The site was reportedly down for only 30 minutes but was slow to load when it returned.
Earlier this week WikiLeaks began publishing emails obtained by Anonymous during a hack on intelligence broker Stratfor last December. The collective also listened in on a conversation between the FBI and Scotland Yard last month, posting a recording on YouTube.
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