Spanish police arrested three suspected members of the online hacking group Anonymous, which has taken credit for carrying out cyber-attacks on governments and companies including Sony Corp. and MasterCard Inc.
Anonymous hacked the websites of Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria SA, Spain's second-biggest bank, and Enel SpA, the Italian owner of Spanish power company Endesa, police said in a statement in Madrid today. The arrests follow similar actions against Anonymous in the U.S. and U.K. in December and January.
As part of Spain's probe of the group, authorities had to overcome "complicated security measures taken by its members to protect its anonymity," according to the police statement. Anonymous previously hacked the websites of the governments of Iran, Egypt, Libya and Algeria, police said.
Anonymous, composed of hundreds of hackers and activists in several countries, gained attention in December when it targeted EBay Inc.'s PayPal unit, Visa Inc. and other companies deemed hostile to WikiLeaks, the anti-secrecy group that published leaked U.S. military documents and diplomatic communications on its website.
The arrests will have "little overall impact" in slowing the group's activities because many of the accused hackers are minors and are widely dispersed geographically, said John D'Arcy, an assistant professor of information-technology management at the University of Notre Dame.
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