Interpol announced yesterday that they had taken part in an international operation that led to the arrests of 25 alleged members of the Anonymous hacker collective. The not-arrested members of Anonymous reportedly lashed back with a stinging DDoS attack on Interpol’s website.
The so-called “Operation Unmask,” carried out by Interpol’s Latin American Working Group of Experts on Information Technology (IT) Crime, began in mid-February in response to a number of online attacks originating from Argentina, Colombia, Chile, and Spain. Interpol claims these attacks targeted the websites of the Ministry of Defense and president in Colombia, as well as Chile’s Endesa electricity company and National Library, among others.
It took Interpol all of two weeks to track down and arrest the suspects. While some recent law enforcement campaigns against Anonymous in Europe and the U.S. have reportedly nabbed high ranking members, the duration of this particular campaign and the noticeable lack of names and aliases in media reports seem to suggest that these are not ranking members. I reached out to Interpol for confirmation on this, but they have yet to respond to my request for comment.
In carrying out the operation, the international law enforcement agency executed more than 40 searches across 15 cities. They seized some 250 devices and mobile phones as well as payment cards and cash. Those arrested range in age from 17 to 40.
“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 website of Interpol was both on and offline during the writing of this report, suggesting that they may still be under strain from DDoS attacks.
[An earlier version of this story ran with a headline claiming that Interpol arrested these individuals. In actuality, Interpol does not make arrests, but rather acts as a liason to local law enforcement agencies.]