Law enforcement authorities arrested 25 individuals in Spain, Argentina, Colombia and Chile for online attacks, which spurred revenge attacks against Interpol for coordinating the investigation.
enforcement authorities arrested 25 individuals allegedly members of the
Anonymous hacktivist collective as part of an international operation,
according to Interpol.
operation began in mid-February after police traced several high-profile online
attacks originating from Argentina, Colombia, Chile and Spain, Interpol
said Feb. 28. The attackers allegedly targeted Websites belonging to the
Ministry of Defense and president in Colombia, Endesa, a Chilean electric
company, and Chile's National Library, among others.
Unmask was coordinated by the Interpol's Latin American Working Group of Experts
on Information Technology Crime. Interpol helped share intelligence across
national law enforcement agencies in Argentina, Chile, Colombia and Spain.
Based on the information, police officers executed more than 40 searches across
15 cities in those four countries and confiscated around 250 devices and mobile
phones. Payment cards and cash were also seized during the raids. The arrested
individuals ranged in age from 17 to 40, according to Interpol.
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 Bernd Rossbach, active Interpol executive director of police services.
individuals in Spain were arrested for sabotaging Websites and posting
confidential data online, Spanish police said before Interpol made its
announcement. The server logs obtained as part of those arrests led the police
to five suspects in Colombia, six in Chile and 10 in Argentina, according to a
report by Agence France Presse.
did not release any information about the evidence that linked the suspects to
the collective. Anonymous has no organized structure, and there is nothing to
stop someone from claiming to be affiliated with the group, making it hard to
identify members. However, Spanish police said in its statement that two of the
four Spanish suspects managed two servers in Bulgaria and Czech Republic that
are used by Anonymous members.
retaliation for the arrests, several members of the hacking collective appear
to have launched distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks against the
Interpol Website, according to a Twitter account associated with the group,
AnonOps. The site was intermittently available after Interpol's announcement.
seems to be #TangoDown. We can't say that this surprises us much,"
Anonymous IRC posted on Twitter shortly afterward.
have been a number of arrests of individuals accused of participating in
Anonymous-led DDoS attacks and other Web attacks over the past 12 months. The
attacks are almost always followed by some form of a revenge attack by the
collective's members, and there have been no noticeable impact on the group's
recruitment efforts or reduction in their activities.
has targeted police and other law enforcement organizations in recent weeks by
launching DDoS attacks and breaching Websites. The Los Angeles Police Canine
Association's Website was attacked Feb. 23. Previous victims include Websites
of the Central Intelligence Agency and the FBI, as well as police departments
in Boston, Arizona and Alabama.