In a swoop across Europe and South America, Interpol – the international police agency – arrested 25 members of the Anonymous group on Tuesday. Working with local law enforcement they arrested suspects on a series of charges including attacking the websites of the Columbian and Spanish Government, Chilean electricity companies and other political and police sites. Also seized in the raids were over 250 pieces of evidence including computers, mobile phones and electronic devices.
Bernd Rossbach, acting Interpol executive director of police service commented:
“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.”
In retaliation members of Anonymous brought down the Interpol website by launching a series of denial-of-service attacks.
Today Anonymous claim that cells of their organisation had been infiltrated and this was the reason behind the high number of arrests on Tuesday. On the Anonymous Iberoamerica blog a statement commented that the arrests were because of “…the use of spies and informants within the movement”.
Anonymous are rarely out of the cyber news, with a recent interception of a British and United States secret service call one of their most high profile successes. Anonymous’ attacks are usually politically motivated and many believe are not a threat to businesses. Eric Storm however, cyber investigator at the FBI, believes that businesses are still not taking the threat of Anonymous, hactivists and cyber attack seriously.
Speaking at the RSA Conference yesterday Storm commented that businesses “… are taking (cyber crime) too lightly” and that hacktivism “can destroy a business.
Governments, organizations and businesses of all sizes need to understand the threat posed by cyber attacks and hacktivism.