Twenty five suspected members of the loose-knit Anonymous hacker movement have been arrested in a sweep across Europe and South America, Interpol said on Tuesday.
The arrests in Argentina, Chile, Colombia and Spain were carried out by national law enforcement officers working under the support of Interpol’s Latin American Working Group of Experts on Information Technology Crime, according to Fox News, the international police agency said in a statement.
The suspects are aged between 17 and 40 and are suspected of planning coordinated cyber-attacks against institutions including Colombia’s defense ministry and presidential websites, Chile’s Endesa electricity company and national library, as well as other targets.
The arrests followed an ongoing investigation begun in mid-February which also led to the seizure of 250 items of IT equipment and mobile phones in searches of 40 premises in 15 cities, Interpol said.
Earlier Tuesday police in Spain announced the arrest of four suspected Anonymous hackers in connection with attacks on Spanish political party websites. These four were among the 25 announced by Interpol.
A National Police statement said two servers used by the group in Bulgaria and the Czech Republic have been blocked.
It said the four included the alleged manager of Anonymous’ computer operations in Spain and Latin America, who was identified only by his initials and the aliases “Thunder” and “Pacotron.”
The four are suspected of defacing websites, carrying out denial-of-service attacks and publishing data on police assigned to the royal palace and the premier’s office online.
Interpol is headquartered in Lyons, France. The organization has no powers of arrest or investigation but it helps police forces around the world work together, facilitating intelligence sharing.