A press release at Interpol’s Web site (www.interpol.int) announced the arrest of 25 suspected members of the hacking group know as  “Anonymous” across four countries in Latin America and Europe.

An international operation supported by INTERPOL launched Operation Unmask in mid-February following a series of coordinated cyber-attacks originating from Argentina, Chile, Colombia and Spain against the Colombian Ministry of Defence and presidential websites, as well as Chile’s Endesa electricity company and its National Library, among others.

Around 250 items of IT equipment and mobile phones were also seized during searches of 40 premises across 15 cities during the operation, as well as payment cards and cash, as part of a continuing investigation into the funding of illegal activities carried out by the suspected hackers who are aged 17 to 40.

Bernd Rossbach, Acting INTERPOL Executive Director of Police Services. said:

“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,”

The international operation was carried out by national law enforcement officers in Argentina, Chile, Colombia and Spain, under the aegis of INTERPOL’s Latin American Working Group of Experts on Information Technology (IT) Crime, which facilitated the sharing of intelligence following operational meetings in the four participating countries.