EXCLUSIVE: 16 Suspected 'Anonymous' Hackers Arrested in Nationwide Sweep
Published July 19, 2011
Sixteen suspected members of "Anonymous" were arrested this morning in states including Florida, New Jersey and California, in what appears to be a nationwide takedown of the notorious hacking group, FoxNews.com has exclusively learned.
The arrests and the 30 to 40 search warrants issued by the feds Tuesday are part of an ongoing investigation into Anonymous, which has claimed responsibility for numerous cyberattacks against a variety of websites including Visa and Mastercard.
Some of the arrests were out of the San Francisco field office, sources said, activity that followed searches earlier in the day in the New York area at residences believed to be associated with members of the hacking collective, FoxNews.com has learned.
“I can confirm that we’re conducting law enforcement actions relating to a criminal investigation,” said Alicia Sensibaugh, a spokeswoman for FBI’s San Francisco office, out of which sources said multiple search warrants were executed Tuesday morning.
Sources said the California searches, which were carried out at 6 a.m. PDT, are connected to allegations that a national network of hackers carried out distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks against numerous companies and their websites.
More than 10 FBI agents arrived at the Baldwin, N.Y., home of Giordani Jordan with a search warrant for computers and computer-related accessories, removing at least one laptop from the premises.
The Anonymous group is a loose collection of cybersavvy activists inspired by WikiLeaks and its flamboyant head Julian Assange to fight for "Internet freedom" -- along the way defacing websites, shutting down servers, and scrawling messages across screens web-wide.
The Anonymous vigilante group recently turned its efforts to the Arizona police department, posting personal information of law officers and hacking and defacing websites in response, the group claims, to the state's controversial SB1070 immigration law.
While Anonymous is largely a politically motivated organization, splinter group LulzSec -- which dominated headlines in the spring for a similar streak of cyberattacks -- was largely in it for the thrills.
The metropolitan police in London arrested the first alleged member of the LulzSec group on June 20, a 19-year-old teen named Ryan Cleary. Subsequent sweeps through Italy and Switzerland in early July led to the arrests of 15 more people -- all between the ages of 15 and 28 years old.
The two groups are responsible for a broad spate of digital break-ins targeting governments and large corporations, including Japanese technology giant Sony, the U.S. Senate, telecommunications giant AT&T, Fox.com, and other government and private entities.