Spanish police have arrested three suspected computer hackers who allegedly belonged to a loose-knit international activist group that attacked corporate and government websites around the world, authorities said Friday.
National Police identified the three as leaders of the Spanish section of a group that calls itself “Anonymous.” All three are Spaniards aged 30 to 32, said Manuel Vazquez, chief of the police’s high-tech crime unit.
A computer server in one of their homes was used to take part in cyber attacks on targets including two major Spanish banks, the Italian energy company Enel and the governments of Egypt, Algeria, Libya, Iran, Chile, Colombia and New Zealand, Vazquez said.
The server had also been used to hack into an online Playstation store, but Vazquez said the three detainees had not been involved in an April cyber intrusion which affected millions of PlayStation Network users.
The three detainees have been released without bail but face a charge that is new in the Spanish penal code — disrupting a computer system, Vazquez said. He gave no details on what effect these attacks had.
In Spain, acting on their own, the three detainees staged cyber attacks on the website of Spain’s central electoral commission a few days before local and regional elections on May 22, that of the regional police force in the northeast Catalonia region and a major Spanish labor union.
The night before the election, the three men tried to shut down the web pages of Spain’s two main political parties and that of the Spanish parliament but were thwarted by police, Vazquez said.