Spanish authorities have arrested three people believed to be “leaders” in of the hacktivist group Anonymous, reports The Register. The busts comes after an infiltration of the group by Spanish Police. A server hosted in Gijon, Spain, was also seized as part of the raid.
Police say the group is responsible for launching a recent cyber-attack on Spain’s Central Electoral Board, known as la Junta Electoral Central) — a move presumably carried out due to the newly passed anti-file-sharing legislation in Spain — as well as an attack on Sony‘s PlayStation Store. Other targets of the group allegedly include the government-run websites of Egypt, Algeria, New Zealand and Lybia. Police have published screenshots of an IRC chat in which Anonymous members discuss targeting the Junta Electoral Central, plus a slew of websites.
So far, none of the suspects have been named.
Anonymous first launched into the world’s consciousness with attacks on the websites of Visa, MasterCard and PayPal, which were carried out in support of WikiLeaks, for which these companies had stopped processing donation payments after the whistleblowing site released a massive cache of US diplomatic cables. Additional prominence was gained after a retaliatory hack on HBGary Federal, a data security company whose CEO, Aaron Barr, claimed to have infiltrated the hacker group.
Since that time, Anonymous has been involved in a wide range of cyber attacks against both corporate and governmental agencies. It is not clear, however, that the group actually has any leadership. While various spokesmen claim to speak for the group, it remains a loose-knit sect of hackers, all of whom act in the name of Anonymous.
The arrests follow a surge in cyber attacks, from both Anonymous and other groups. Most recently, a group known as Lulz Security (LulzSec) has waged war on everyone from PBS to the FBI.
While this represents the first arrests of supposedly Anonymous-affiliated hackers, the increase in cyber-attacks and other hacks are sure to lead to increased action from the authorities — especially since FBI informants are said to make up 25 percent of all US hackers, a statistic of which we remain skeptical.