25 ‘Anonymous’ hackers arrested in multinational sting

Interpol on Tuesday announced that 25 suspected members of the hacker group “Anonymous” have been arrested in a raid across Europe and South America. The suspected members ranged in age from 17 to 40 and are accused of planning coordinated cyber-attacks against various government institutions, such as Colombia’s defense ministry and presidential Web sites, Chile’s Endesa electricity company and national library and other targets. The arrests were the result of an ongoing investigation by local and federal police agencies, which searched 40 locations in 15 cities and seized 250 pieces of technology equipment since mid-February. “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,” Acting INTERPOL Executive Director of Police Services Bernd Rossbach said. Read on for Interpol’s press release.

LYON, France ‒ An international operation supported by INTERPOL against suspected hackers believed to be linked to the so-called ‘Anonymous’ hacking group has seen the arrest of some 25 individuals across four countries in Latin America and Europe.

Operation Unmask was launched in mid-February following a series of coordinated cyber-attacks originating from Argentina, Chile, Colombia and Spain against the Colombian Ministry of Defence and presidential websites, as well as Chile’s Endesa electricity company and its National Library, among others.

The international operation was carried out by national law enforcement officers in Argentina, Chile, Colombia and Spain, under the aegis of INTERPOL’s Latin American Working Group of Experts on Information Technology (IT) Crime, which facilitated the sharing of intelligence following operational meetings in the four participating countries.

Some 250 items of IT equipment and mobile phones were also seized during searches of 40 premises across 15 cities during the operation, as well as payment cards and cash, as part of a continuing investigation into the funding of illegal activities carried out by the suspected hackers who are aged 17 to 40.

“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 Bernd Rossbach, Acting INTERPOL Executive Director of Police Services.

INTERPOL working parties on IT crime were created to facilitate the development of strategies, technologies and information on the latest IT crime methods. There are regional working parties for Africa, the Americas, Asia and the South Pacific, Europe, and the Middle East and North Africa.

The main activities of the working parties rest on three pillars: facilitating operations against IT crime among INTERPOL’s 190 member countries, capacity building and addressing emerging threats.

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