TOMÀS DELCLÓS / EL PAÍS - Barcelona - 10/06/2011
National police arrested three members of Anonymous, a loose group of international hacktivists, who were operating out of Spain. One of the detainees had a server at home that was used to carry out Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks against the websites of governments, financial instutions and major corporations across the globe, said the police. The arrests were made in Gijón, Barcelona and Valencia.
The main suspect's home was the source of computer attacks (which disable web pages by flooding the resources of the server where it is hosted) that brought down the internet sites of Sony's Playstation, BBVA, Mankia and Enel, as well as the official websites of the governments of Egypt, Algeria, Lybia, Iran, Chile, Colombia and New Zealand. On May 18, the suspects also attacked the website of the national election authorities, and later against the Catalan police and the UGT union. They were allegedly also planning to cripple the websites of Spain's major political parties ahead of the May 22 elections.
Originally focused on entertainment, the concept of a collective of anonymous internet users working together towards a shared goal evolved into activism against government and corporate efforts to constrain the internet. Anonymous has mounted campaigns in defense of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and other perceived champions of online freedom.