While LulzSec sings its own praises, the hacking collective Anonymous has found itself at the receiving end of what some analysts have described as a twenty-first-century „witch-hunt“ born from the public’s growing fear of cyber attacks.
The recent arrests in Turkey
Most recently the Turkish authorities have targeted Anonymous for its cyber attacks against the government’s websites.
The cyber attacks used the DDoS assault technique that overloads computer networks with information to the point that it ceases to function.
In response to the attacks Turkish authorities conducted raids across 12 of the country’s provinces, leading to the arrest of 32 suspected Anonymous members.
Of the 32 there has been speculation about whether eight to ten of the individuals arrested were minors. Most recently The Anatolia news agency has reported that nine minors of the 32 arrested have since been released. The news agency did not clarify whether there were still more minors being detained for questioned out of the remaining 23 suspected members.
Three arrested in Spain
The arrests in Spain saw three suspected members arrested in Barcelona, Valencia and Almeria.
The three were arrested on charges of cyber attacks against targets including the Spanish banks BBVA and Bankia and Italian energy group Enel SpA.
In response to the arrests Anonymous targeted the SpanishPolice with another DDoS attack — similar to those carried out in Turkey.
According to a report from the BBC the attack managed to knock the SpanishPolice’s website offline for around an hour.
Thus far all that is known about the three men arrested is that they are all in their 30’s.
The U.K. Arrests
In the U.K. six suspected Anonymous members have since been arrested and released on bail.
The suspected members were caught after British Police raided the homes of the five individuals on 27 January this year. The locations of the raids have since been confirmed as being in the West Midlands, Northamptonshire, Hertfordshire, Surrey and London.
The sixth suspected Anonymous member was arrested on a separate raid carried out in April this year.
The six men were all arrested in connection with several offences under the Computer Misuse Act.
Three of the group are teenagers aged 15, 16 and 19, while the other three suspected members are in their twenties.
Despite being released on bail all five are to reappear at police stations later this month.
The six are suspected of involvement in Anonymous‘ cyber attacks against Amazon, the Bank of America, Mastercard, PayPal and Visa’s website. The attacks were all carried out in December last year.
Including the nine minors reported as being released by Turkish authorities, the grand total of arrests made in Turkey Spain and the United Kingdom mean that a potential 32 Anonymous members could have been caught.
This adds to the U.S.’s attempts, the country issued 40 arrest warrants for suspected Anonymous members in February alone.
Is this a success
Judging whether the number of arrests made can be counted as a significant step forward in the world’s fight against cyber crime is difficult. As a group, Anonymous‘ lives up to its name-sake, no-one really knows how many members the group has, nor how organised they are.
The group even has a policy that states individuals can only remain members as long as their identities remain unknown — presumably meaning that none of the individuals arrested are currently members of the group.