Earlier this month, Anonymous members were reported to have been arrested in Europe, and now the hactivist group is facing similar consequences stateside. Fox News reports that 16 accused Anonymous members have been taken into custody and their locations include Florida, New Jersey, and California.
The search for Anonymous affiliates has been a priority for law enforcement since late 2010, when following the WikiLeaks-Cablegate debacle the group began issuing DDoS attacks against various websites, including Mastercard, Visa, Amazon, and WordPress. Anonymous didn’t stop there, however, and security firms (including HB Gary, which was exposed as attempting to smear WikiLeaks) as well as government entities including the FBI and Arizona state police department were subjected to its Internet attacks.
And while the international search for perpetrators has yielded some results, details on the US investigation have been vague until now. “I can confirm that we’re conducting law enforcement actions relating to a criminal investigation,” San Francisco FBI spokeswoman Alicia Sensibaugh says.
While most of the arrested individuals remained unnamed, one New Yorker named Giordani Jordan is believed to have been among them. He was taken into custody and his laptop was removed from his home.
Anonymous has been behind a reign of Internet attacks that have primarily been politically focused. The group claims to fight censorship and promote government transparency. Its initial defense of WikiLeaks following its release of confidential diplomatic cables earned it a reputation as anti-American, although US organizations and companies have not been its sole focus. The group has also targeted many of the Middle Eastern countries that have cut off Internet communications for citizens.
Despite its attempts at remaining anonymous, the rising profile of the once nearly unknown group has brought not only infamy but the attention and intense scrutiny of law authorities. Coupling this most recent rash of arrests with those in Italy and Sweden earlier this month makes it seems as though Anonymous may be crumbling. In regard to the previous arrests, the group has protested the importance of the accused and denied their importance to the organization. Anonymous has said nothing about today’s events, and its last press release was July 12, announcing Operation Green Rights to fight American oil corporations.