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Spanish police arrest three suspected hackers

Spanish police on Friday arrested three alleged members of the hacker and activist group Anonymous on suspicion of taking part in online attacks against Sony Corp.'s PlayStation Network, as well as banks, businesses and government websites.

Police said the three “hacktivists,” whose identities have not been released, were involved in the April hacking of the PlayStation Network, an online video gaming and entertainment service that Sony suspended for more than a month after the attack.

Officials with Sony, which has also been dealing with attacks in recent weeks on its Sony Pictures and music websites from hackers including the group LulzSec, were unavailable to comment Friday on the arrests.

The three suspects — who lived separately in Barcelona, Valencia and Almeria — are also believed to have played a role in cyber-attacks on the Spanish banks Bankia and BBVA as well as the Italian energy group Enel.

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Anonymous, a group of online hackers that says it is made up of “online citizens” with no clear leader, generally launches Web attacks against companies or governments that it says are detrimental to society. Anonymous has played a part in hacking government sites in countries such as Egypt, Tunisia and Iran.

The group has also been known for hacking the websites of banks, credit card companies and PayPal in retaliation for those companies not processing donations made to the secret-document-publishing website WikiLeaks.

Sony has blamed the attack on its PlayStation Network partially on Anonymous, but the group has denied involvement, although it did say it is possible that individual members could have been involved on their own.

“They are structured in independent cells and make thousands of simultaneous attacks using infected ‘zombie’ computers worldwide,” Spanish police said. “This is why NATO considers them a threat.... They are even capable of collapsing a country’s administrative structure.”

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nathan.olivarezgiles@latimes.com

Reuters was used in compiling this report.


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