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27 March 2012

Dominican authorities arrest six suspected hackers reportedly linked to ‘Anonymous’ group following INTERPOL-supported global operation

LYON, France ‒ Authorities in the Dominican Republic have arrested six suspects as part of an international operation supported by INTERPOL against suspected hackers believed to be linked to the so-called ‘Anonymous’ group.

The arrests are the latest phase of Operation Unmask, an international initiative supported by INTERPOL against suspected hackers.

Launched in mid-February under the aegis of INTERPOL’s Latin American Working Group of Experts on Information Technology (IT) Crime which facilitated the sharing of intelligence, Operation Unmask has already seen interventions by national law enforcement officers in Argentina, Chile, Colombia and Spain, resulting in 25 arrests.

It was originally launched following a series of coordinated cyber-attacks originating from Argentina, Chile, Colombia and Spain against the Colombian Ministry of Defence and presidential websites, as well as Chile’s Endesa electricity company and its National Library, among others.

In the first phase of the operation, some 250 items of IT equipment and mobile phones were seized during searches of 40 premises across 15 cities during the operation, as well as payment cards and cash, as part of a continuing investigation into the funding of illegal activities carried out by the suspected hackers who are aged 17 to 40.

The latest phase of the operation in the Dominican Republic came in the wake of cybercrime attacks against various governmental websites, as well as national and international companies in the private sector. Those arrested include two minors.

INTERPOL working parties on IT crime were created to facilitate the development of strategies, technologies and information on the latest IT crime methods. There are regional working parties for Africa, the Americas, Asia and the South Pacific, Europe, and the Middle East and North Africa.

The main activities of the working parties rest on three pillars: facilitating operations against IT crime among INTERPOL’s 190 member countries, capacity building and addressing emerging threats.