25 alleged Anonymous members busted by Interpol

Interpol Anonymous arrests were made across 15 cities in Argentina, Chile, Colombia and Spain

International police organization Interpol today said it arrested 25 people, aged between 17 and 40, and seized a variety of computer equipment it said were part of the hactivist group Anonymous.  The Interpol web site was promptly hit by a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack and shut down.

The arrests were made across 15 cities in Argentina, Chile, Columbia and Spain, Interpol said in a news release. They followed an investigation called "Operation Unmask" that began in mid-February following cyber attacks directed at Columbia's Ministry of Defense and the president's website, and Chile's Endesa electricity company and its national library. Authorities searched 40 locations and seized 250 items including computer equipment and mobile phones. An investigation continues into how the alleged hackers' activities were funded, Interpol said. 

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Included in the arrests were the alleged manager of Anonymous' computer operations in Spain and Latin America, who was identified only by his initials and the aliases "Thunder" and "Pacotron."

According to an IDG News Service story a  prominent Twitter account linked to Anonymous, AnonOps, hinted that the group had been attacking Interpol's website in retaliation on Wednesday. One tweet read, "Tango Down II 404 Interpol."  Anonymous often conducts distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks against websites, which involves bombarding a site with so many traffic requests it becomes unavailable.

The IDG story said the arrests mark one of the biggest roundups so far of people allegedly affiliated with Anonymous, a decentralized group that undertakes hacking campaigns to protest policies and organizations it opposes.

Form a Gaurdian.com report: Bernd Rossbach, Interpol's acting executive director of police services, said: "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."

Anonymous has been busy. 

Anonymous said last Thursday it would launch an action against the Internet's root servers on March 31 as part of "Operation Global Blackout" that would target the root Domain Name System (DNS) servers.  Anonymous said the attack has been planned as a protest against "our irresponsible leaders and the beloved bankers who are starving the world for their own selfish needs out of sheer sadistic fun"according to an IDG News Service story.

Earlier in the month  Anonymous claimed it uploaded the source code of Symantec's pcAnywhere had to the Pirate Bay site.  Then it hit Combined Systems, a tactical weapons company that has been accused of selling tear gas canisters and grenades to Arab governments. Also in February it leaked an 18-minute discussion between members of the FBI and the Metropolitan police. 

Follow Michael Cooney on Twitter: nwwlayer8 and on Facebook

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