Domenica, 23 Settembre 2018
ROME

Anonymous hackers arrested in Italy

English
© ANSA

(By Denis Greenan)
Rome, May 17 - Police on Friday arrested four
Italian members of the international 'hacktivist' network
Anonymous for allegedly hacking into computer systems of the
government, parliament and the Vatican.
The four also allegedly got into the systems of key
infrastructure and major firms but police have not yet said what
damage they did.
Raids were carried out "across Italy", police said.
"The group carried out a series of attacks against the
computer systems of critical infrastructure, institutional sites
and important companies", police said.
Police said the four were a 43-year-old man from near Lecce,
in southern Italy, a 20-year-old from Bologna, in central Italy,
a 28-year-old from the province of Venice and a 25-year-old from
the province of Turin.
"They acted under the cover of Anonymous", police said.
Anonymous, a digital activism umbrella group linked to
numerous high-profile cyber attacks worldwide, has stepped up a
campaign in Italy over the last two years.
In April hackers from the group brought down the home pages
of the Italian interior ministry, the police and the
Carabinieri.
In a statement circulated online, the hackers said
operation 'Tango Down' was a counterattack for a list of
grievances including labour injustice in Italy and police
brutality at protests in Genoa in 2001 surrounding the G8
summit.
Hackers under the same moniker successfully took down the
Vatican home page twice in March.
In July 2011 Italian police arrested the leader and several
group members of a computer hacker cell in Italy tied to
Anonymous.
Investigators charged 15 people, five of whom were minors,
after conducting 32 raids across the country and one in
Switzerland, confiscating dozens of computers and other
equipment.
Police said that the leader of the group was a 26-year-old
Swiss-Italian who went by the nickname of "Phre".
The cell was accused of carrying out attacks on the Italian
Senate, House and central government, as well as targeting other
Italian organizations such as AGCOM, the national communications
regulatory body; energy giants ENEL and ENI; state broadcaster
RAI; and Mediaset, the country's largest commercial broadcaster,
owned by Premier Silvio Berlusconi.
Anonymous came to world prominence in December 2010 when
thousands of supporters downloaded its attack software to defend
WikiLeaks, the whistle-blowing website founded by Julian
Assange.
A group claiming to be connected to Anonymous took
responsibility for hacking the Fox News Twitter account to say
that American President Barak Obama had been assassinated while
campaigning for re-election.
Many Anonymous affiliates have taken revenge on the
websites of companies, organizations, and government bodies they
feel have unfairly treated Assange and WikiLeaks, which released
hundreds of thousands of confidential cables about the wars in
Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as the inner-workings of US
diplomacy around the globe.
A typical cyber-assault from Anonymous is called a
denial-of-service attack, in which hackers clog a website with
too much activity, either shutting it down or rendering its
services virtually unusable.
MasterCard's website received a denial-of-service attack in
December 2010 after it had stopped processing donations to
WikiLeaks. PayPal, Visa and a legal office prosecuting Assange
suffered similar attacks as part of what Anonymous called
Operation Payback.
The Italian cell carried out dozens of attacks from January
to July 2011.
Anonymous, a loose international association of hackers,
has staged a string of other well-publicized hacks and attacks
on government, religious, and corporate websites.
Dozens of people have been arrested for involvement in
Anonymous cyber-attacks, in countries including the US, UK,
Australia, the Netherlands, Spain, and Turkey.
Supporters have called the group "freedom fighters" and
digital Robin Hoods while critics have described them as "a
cyber lynch-mob" or "cyber terrorists".
In 2012, Time called Anonymous one of the "100 most
influential people" in the world.

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