Interpol has arrested 25 people with suspected links to the loose hacking collective Anonymous, according to a statement from the international police agency. The alleged hackers are between the ages of 17 and 40.
On Tuesday, Interpol said that it begun looking for the hackers as part of “Operation Unmask,” an initiative that launched in mid-February. The investigation was launched after Anonymous members claimed credit for denial of service attacks on the Colombian Ministry of Defense, presidential Web sites and an electric company in Chile, as well as an attack on the Web site of Chile’s National Library, the Associated Press reported.
Law enforcement officials arrested people in connection with attacks in Argentina, Chile, Colombia and Spain. The investigation was coordinated by Interpol’s Latin American working group on information technology, the statement said.
Officials seized mobile phones and other IT equipment as well as 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,” said Bernd Rossbach, Interpol’s acting executive director of police services, in the statement.
The Associated Press reported that police in Spain announced four of the 25 arrests, and that there are reports that 10 people were arrested in Argentina.
After Interpol’s release went public, members of Anonymous claimed credit for a denial-of-service attack that briefly brought down the Interpol Web site.
Anonymous, which has no central leadership, made headlines earlier this week when it leaked information obtained from the Stratfor Intelligence firm through Wikileaks.