MADRID Feb 28 Spain and three South
American countries arrested 25 suspected hackers associated with
the Anonymous activist group on Tuesday on accusations of
defacing government and corporate websites, officials said.
Spanish police also accused one of four suspects picked up
in the cities of Madrid and Malaga of releasing personal data
about police officers and bodyguards protecting Spain's royal
family and the prime minister.
Other arrests were in Argentina, Chile and Colombia, and 250
items of computer equipment and mobile phones were seized across
15 cities, Interpol said. Colombia's Ministry of Defence and
presidential websites as well as Chile's Endesa electricity
company were among the targets of the hackers,
The loosely organised group Anonymous is suspected of
coordinated computer hacking against institutions,
multinationals and government organisations across the world.
"These cyber attacks were sometimes individual actions but
they were supported by many people who joined forces and
knowledge to commit them," Spanish police said in a statement
released by the Interior Ministry.
"Those arrested ... had a high level of knowledge of
Earlier this month, anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks began
publishing more than 5 million emails from U.S.-based global
security analysis company Stratfor believed to have been
obtained by Anonymous supporters.
In Spain, two of the four suspects remained in custody while
the other two, including a 16-year-old, were released on bail by
a court, police said.
The Spanish police accused the suspects of tampering with
the websites of political parties, for example by putting fangs
on images of party leaders. Spanish companies were also
targeted, the police said.
The group had set up a chat-room to help run computer
attacks in Spain and Latin America.
After the arrests, a call went out in chat-rooms affiliated
with the suspects for supporters to attack the Spanish police
website. The petition specifically asked for people from outside
of Spain to carry out the attacks "so that the police would not
have enough data to lead to new arrests", according to the
In June, Spanish police arrested three suspected Anonymous
members on charges of cyber attacks against targets including
Sony's PlayStation store, governments, businesses and