anonymous 444444

Anonymous may be slightly less anonymous shortly.

The Italian government capped off a long investigation yesterday with a series of 32 raids across Italy and one in Switzerland. Authorities arrested 15 alleged members of Anonymous and accused them with conducting denial of service attacks against government web sites and the web sites of private and state-owned media organizations…

The alleged Anonymous members are being held in separate locations around the country, and all are aged between 15 and 28. Five of those detained are minors, under the age of 18. The Italian police also said they were far from through their list of people to detain, and are looking for an additional 30 people they claim are in the group and are wanted on similar charges, including a 26-year-old whose handle is “Phre.” Italian authorities say Phre is the “leader” of the group.

Anonymous, for their part, has always maintained that the group has no “leader,” and re-iterated this point in their own statement on the arrests. AnonOps downplayed the arrests as a minor infraction, but called other Italian members of the group to conduct their own new attacks in retribution for the arrests. Their statement tells others to “Let them have it, stronger than ever.”
If the group response to past arrests is any indication, there will be more attacks. Whether or not the Italian authorities actually managed to arrest members of Anonymous who were knowingly complicit in the attacks however is another matter – as with many DoS attacks, the actual systems used could belong to innocent users who have no idea their computer is being used as a tool.

Regardless, the Italian authorities are only the most recent to go on a hunting campaign for alleged cyber-criminals. The Spanish government made similar arrests a few weeks ago, as did Turkish authorities. Of course, Anonymous quickly brought down the Spanish government’s web sites in retribution, but we’ll have to see if Italian authorities suffer the same fate.

Read more at Ars Technica