Sony Hackers Arrested in Spain
One of the men arrested is 31, lives in Gijón, and maintains a server in his home for hosting Anonymous chat. The two other men, ages 30 and 31, did not have Internet connections of their own and hacked into nearby neighbor’s wifi to connect. The police describe all three men as computer experts.
The three men have now been released from custody but do face criminal charges. The men have been charged with the crimes of interruption of another’s computer-based information system, a crime just recently introduced into the Spanish penal code, and conspiracy. They face between 6 months and 3 years imprisonment if convicted.
In addition to the much-publicized attacks on PSN, PlayStation Network, the suspects are believed to have also led attacks on several other companies and even national government sites. Among them two banks, BBVA and Bankia, an Italian company which owns a Spanish power company, ENEL, and the government sites of Egypt, Algeria, Libya, Iran, Chile, Colombia, New Zealand, and Turkey.
The Spanish newspaper, El País, reports that the suspects provided the technological infrastructure and the means of communication between members necessary to engage in attacks. El País also reports the organization communicates via IRC, group chat forums, with servers all over the world.
The key to understanding the group’s structure is to abandon traditional notions of organizational hierarchy. Virtually anyone can act under the guise of membership, and virtually anyone can issue statements on behalf of the group. The success of individual statements and actions relies on endorsement and promotion by fellow members.
The fragmented nature of Anonymous has made it difficult for journalists and law enforcement alike to identify its members or to predict its movements. Anonymous’s scope has recently expanded to other issues, recently showing support for WikiLeaks and the uprising in Tunisia. Anonymous is known to maintain two servers, one dedicated to the cause of fighting Scientology, the other for more recent causes.
Members of anonymous wear Guy Fawkes masks during public appearances, and incorporate other insignia from the film, V for Vendetta, on web postings and in videos released.
LulzSec, another hacking entity, has attacked Sony in recent months. On its website, LulzSec claims responsibility for several attacks on Sony BMG and Sony Pictures. It has also posted data collected during the hacks.
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