Interpol arrested 25 suspected Anonymous members in one fell swoop covering more than a dozen cities in four countries across Europe and Latin America, the global police body reported on Tuesday, Feb. 28. Anonymous members quickly responded in kind, launching an attack on the Interpol website in an attempt to knock it offline.
Soon after the news of Interpol's swoop was revealed, Anonymous responded on Twitter, declaring a cyber-call-to-arms through the @Anon_Support account, which tweeted to sequential messages to its 14,000 followers:
The message was quickly passed around Twitter by various Anonymous affiliated accounts, while at the same time other Anonymous accounts began to declare the attack a success.
@OpHunAnon: Anonymous Hackers Attack Interpol Website After 25 Suspected 'Hacktivists' Arrested
Operation Unmask was launched in mid-February following a series of coordinated cyber-attacks originating from Argentina, Chile, Colombia and Spain, according to a statement from Interpol (full name: the International Criminal Police Organization), which is based in Lyon, France. The statement cited hacker attacks on the websites of the Colombia Ministry of Defense and the presidency, as well as Chile's Endesa electricity company and its National Library.
The operation was carried out by police from Argentina, Chile, Colombia and Spain, who seized 250 items of computer equipment and mobile phones as well as credit cards and cash from the arrested suspects, whose age ranged from 17-40.
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, said Interpol's acting director of police services in a press release on the organizations temporarily-offline website.
However, there no clear evidence has been presented thus far proving those arrested were members of Anonymous, or had broken any internet laws.
The operation was carried out after Intepol searched through computer logs and traced the IP address of its suspects to locate them, netting four hackers in Spain, 10 in Argentina, six in Chile and five in Columbia. The claim one arrested suspect goes by the nicknames Thunder and Pactron and is being accused of running the computer network for Anonymous in both Spain and Latin America through servers based Bulgaria and the Czech Republic. Thunder was arrested in the southern city of Malaga, Spain.