A report from Italian paper La Repubblica on Tuesday confirmed that 15 individuals, including five minors, were taken into custody by Italian law enforcement authorities for their alleged involvement with infamous Internet collective Anonymous. The group was accused of launching cyber attacks on local government websites. In addition, a 26-year old Swiss man was arrested. The purported mastermind’s computer equipment was seized for inspection.
“Anonymous has no leaders, no structure. All anonymous members operate at the same level. Those arrested are not ‘dangerous hackers’ as the media calls them, but people like you. They have been arrested while peacefully protesting for there [SIC] and your rights,” reads the press release. “The Italian Anonymous have not fallen because of this cowardly attempt to dismantle them and announce consequences for there [SIC] actions taken by the police.”
The group promised that their operations will proceed “louder than ever” in light of the arrests, though no specific targets were mentioned for the retaliatory strike.
Despite a somewhat lessened profile thanks in part to the rise (and subsequent fall) of another noteworthy hacker group called LulzSec in recent weeks, Anonymous remains a major target for global digital “crime fighters”. Over the past seven months, dozens of suspected members were arrested around the world.
In January, UK police nabbed five members of the ubiquitous cabal. Last month law officers in both Spain and Turkey picked up suspects they believed took part in high profile attacks, including those against myriad governmental outlets and Sony. Ryan Cleary, a British teen with ties to both Anonymous and LulzSec, was also brought in for questioning after authorities traced him to his family’s home in Essex. Cleary previously made a name for himself during a digital row between Anonymous members that saw the old guard and new upstarts fighting amongst themselves – the latter unhappy with what they believed was a centralized group calling all the shots.