Spanish police apprehended three "Anonymous members," alleged to have been involved in April's PSN breach, attacks on the governments of Libya, Iran, Egypt, Algeria, Colombia Chile, and New Zealand, as well as some banks. A server seized from the home of one suspect's home is believed to have been used for the attacks, though the extent to which is was involved is not immediately clear. The group roused the interest of the Spanish government last year, when the website of Spain's Ministry of Culture fell victim to a DDoS attack in response to the government's then-recent anti-piracy legislation. According to cnet:
Police say their raids turned up software used to make malware and sophisticated encryption tools, as well as a program called LOIC, which the hackers used to carry out DDoS campaigns. Via their Twitter feed, police also posted the below screen capture from an IRC (Internet Relay Chat) room, which they claim shows the group's targets.
The suspects have left police custody without bail, and charges are expected to be filed sometime in the near future. 1up reports that successful prosecution for the presumptive charge, "forming an illegal association to attack public and corporate Web sites," could earn the alleged hackers in upwards of three years in prison. In a vaguely humorous twist, Anonnews.org, the main hub for Anonymous's press releases, is currently down, due to a DDoS attack.
Read my thoughts on the recent news after the jump!
So far, there is no evidence to suggest that the three individuals, even if they were part of Anonymous, had the blessing of the group's top leadership - assuming it even exists. Actions such as the PSN breach fly in the face of Anonymous's stated goals: striking at a corporation that brought legal action against a man who, in Anonymous's view, did nothing wrong. Moreover, it's just senseless. Granted, the whole debacle arguably showed Sony's impotence in the face of hackers, owing to a security apparatus that was clearly unable to withstand such an attack, and it did indeed bring the company under a good deal of fire from consumers who felt that Sony handled the situation quite poorly - dare I say, in a rather "corporate" manner. That does not, however, deflect blame from those behind the breach, causing a massive inconvenience for gamers, and ultimately, terrible PR for the parties involved. As I've mentioned in previous articles, Anonymous has nothing to gain, and everything to lose, from such an attack - assuming, of course, that they are not stupid beyond comprehension. There could easily be members falling into the aforementioned camp, but to label those who fly under the banner of Anonymous as being representative of the group is silly, simplistic, and rather unhelpful.
If the suspects are in fact proven complicit in the attack, then good for the Spanish police. The whole PSN episode was profoundly annoying, and I'd be happy to see the perpetrators get their due. What constitutes "top leadership" is up to interpretation; Anonymous's pubic persona is that of a decentralized, grassroots, quasi-vigilante collective, rather than a rigidly stratified organization. In any event, despite the arrests, I doubt it will make much of a dent. As long as there are computer-savvy people there will be hackers, and as long as some of these people find themselves angry about a particular issue, there will be "hacktivists."