Interpol says it’s arrested 25 people in Latin America and Europe suspected of being members of the Anonymous hacking collective.
Operation Unmask was launched in mid-February after a series of attacks against the Colombian Ministry of Defence and presidential websites, along with Chile’s Endesa electricity company and its National Library.
They also hacked the website of Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos and posted a series of fake messages.
The attacks originated from Argentina, Chile, Colombia and Spain, says Interpol. Four of the suspects are Spanish, ten Argentinian, six Chilean and five Columbian. They’re accused of denial-of-service attacks and defacing several of the websites.
The suspects are aged between 17 and 40, and were arrested during searches of 40 premises across 15 cities. Some 250 items of IT equipment and mobile phones were seized, along with payment cards and cash.
“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,” says Bernd Rossbach, acting Interpol executive director of police services.
Anonymous has, briefly, responded to the arrests by hitting Interpol itself and bringing its website down for a short while. “http://www.interpol.int seems to be #TangoDown. We can’t say that this surprises us much,” it says in a tweet.
There’s no word as yet on the specific charges faced by the suspect, nor on when cases are likely to come to court.