Spanish police arrested three suspected lead members of the very loosely organized hacker collective Anonymous this week.
The trio of hackers was detained in the cities of Barcelona, Valencia and Almeria following an 8 month investigation in which authorities examined web pages and more than 2 million lines of the group’s chat logs. Their names have not yet been released.
The home of one of the suspects contained a server from which DDoS attacks were coordinated an implemented against “the websites of the Playstation Store, BBVA, Bankia, ENEL and the governments of Egypt, Algeria, Libya, Iran, Chile, Colombia and New Zealand,” according to a press release from Spain’s National Police. The other two suspects seemed to possess no internet connections in their homes, but likely used hijacked connections to conceal their identities and activities, authorities speculated.
Though the National Police believe that they’ve “dismantled the leadership” of Anonymous in Spain, Luis Corrons of Panda Labs cautioned that this does not necessarily mean that the group will back down:
“We are all glad to see law enforcement efforts finally paying off and stopping criminals from getting away with their crimes. However, I am very much afraid that the fact that the ‘main leaders of the Anonymous group’ in Spain are now under arrest does not mean the group will cease its activities. We must bear in mind that Anonymous is a highly anarchic organization with no strict hierarchy. I am sure these people have taken part in the attacks -as claimed by the police-, but there is no evidence that they are actually the leaders of the group.”
Corrons added that retaliatory attacks by Anonymous were likely imminent.
As of Friday afternoon, however, the Anonymous communication website AnonNews.org was down due to “heavy DDoS attacks combined with a spike in legitimate traffic.”