INTERPOL said on Tuesday that 25 suspected hackers believed to be linked to ‘Anonymous’ collective have been arrested across four countries in Latin America and Europe.
In typical Anonymous fashion, the loosely-held collective coordinated DDoS attacks against the Interpol Website, putting it offline most of the night on Tuesday. “And interpol.int is #TangoDown again. This time we’re pretty sure it’s no coincidence. They poked the hive. #anonymous,” the @AnonymousIRC account Tweeted late Tuesday. The site is online again as of Wednesday morning.
Supported by INTERPOL, “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, INTERPOL said in a statement.
Approximately 250 items consisting of computers and other technology equipment and mobile phones were also seized during searches in 40 locations across 15 cities during the operation. Payment cards and cash were also seized as part of the investigation into the funding of illegal activities carried out by the suspected hackers who are said to be from 17 to 40 years-old.
“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.
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.
INTERPOL is the world’s largest international police organization, with 190 member countries, which aims to facilitate international police cooperation even when diplomatic relations do not exist between particular countries.