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Anonymous brings down Interpol website in retaliation for 25 arrests

Published time: February 28, 2012 23:57
Edited time: March 07, 2012 12:18

AFP Photo / Thomas Coex

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Interpol's main website has been downed by the Anonymous hacker group in retaliation for the international police agency’s hacker arrests worldwide. And such attacks will continue, the hacktivists promise.

­The website Interpol.int was unreachable for a half hour on Wednesday. Access was later restored, although the loading time remains slow. The attack appears to have been conducted using a botnet. Anonymous Twitter accounts tweeted “interpol.int seems to be #TangoDown. We can’t say that this surprises us much," and "Looks like interpol.int is having some traffic issues. Now who would have expected that?”

The attacks came as Interpol announced the arrests of 25 suspected Anonymous members, aged between 17 and 40, who it alleges planned coordinated cyber-attacks against Colombia’s defense ministry and presidential websites, Chile’s Endesa electricity company and national library, among other targets. The arrests were part of Operation Unmask, during which police in Colombia, Argentina, Chile and Spain seized computers, mobile phones, credit cards and cash at 40 locations in 15 cities.

Among the 25 under arrest are four Anonymous hackers detained by police in Spain on Tuesday under claims that they conducted attacks on Spanish political party websites. The Spanish National Police also said two servers in Bulgaria and the Czech Republic had been blocked as part of Operation Unmask, and that a manager of Anonymous operations in Spain and Latin America, known by the aliases Thunder and Pacotron, was among those arrested.

The four are also suspected of vandalizing websites, conducting DDoS attacks and publishing sensitive data on police officers assigned to Spain's royal palace and its prime minister’s office.

Anonymous has added Interpol’s scalp to its already impressive collection of successfully downed websites.

Their most notable operation up to date was the response to the closing down of the Megaupload file sharing service. In retaliation, Anonymous attacked the websites of the White House, after succeeding in taking down the websites of the CIA, FBI, Department of Justice, Universal Music Group, RIAA and Motion Picture Association of America.

In another headline-making case, WikiLeaks released over 5 million emails of the private intelligence company Stratfor, dubbed the “shadow CIA.” Reports say Wikileaks obtained the data through the Anonymous network.

A message spread by an Anonymous spokesperson said the group intends to continue attacks for the “unforeseeable future”.

A Twitter message reportedly associated with the Brazilian wing of the group said "Interpol, you can't take Anonymous. It's an idea.”