Anonymous responds after suspected hacktivists arrested in Italy and Switzerland

Filed Under: Denial of Service, Law & order, Malware

Anonymous15 people, suspected of involvement in the Anonymous hacktivism movement which has launched a series of internet attacks, were arrested earlier this week following raids in Italy and Switzerland.

According to media reports, a 26-year-old Swiss-Italian called "Phre", based in Canton Ticino, was amongst those detained and charged. It is alleged that "Phre" was a senior member of the group, who approved companies for the hackers to target.

The Italian branch of Anonymous is suspected of bombarding government, business and media websites with denial-of-service attacks, with victims including the Italian senate, energy firm ENI, defence firm Finmeccanica, and financial institution UniCredit.

A total of 32 homes in Italy and Switzerland were searched by police as part of the investigation, with those detained aged between 15 and 28 years of age. Dozens more people are believed to still be being investigated.

A statement published on an Anonymous website, however, played down the significance of the arrests.

Anonymous press release

The "press release" underlined the lack of structure inside Anonymous, and denied reports that the entire Italian Anonymous network had been dismantled:

Those arrested are not "dangerous hackers" as the media calls them, but people like you. They have been arrested while peacefully protesting for there and your rights. Our protest will continue louder than ever.

The Italian Anonymous have not fallen because of this cowardly attempt to dismantle them and announce consequences for there actions taken by the police, to demonstrate that anonymous is present and fights on, like it did in the past and will in the future, for the freedom of the internet.

I'm not sure those words will be much comfort to those who have been arrested by the Italian authorities. Right now, they may well be reflecting on whether participating in a denial-of-service attack is illegal or not.

Recently we have seen Anonymous-related arrests in the USA, UK, Spain, and Turkey.

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26 Responses to Anonymous responds after suspected hacktivists arrested in Italy and Switzerland

  1. Miguel · 1557 days ago

    I think they're a bunch of douche-bags that squander their talents when they could do so much good instead.

  2. Bill Gilbert · 1556 days ago

    these people need to be put in prison for a very long time, and as a condition of release, never be allowed on the internet again. They actauly think they are heroes, while they deny due process to those they attack and trample on the rights of the people they claim to be defending. Driving up costs for business and wasting
    our tax $.

  3. James · 1556 days ago

    "aged between 15 and 28 years" . . The usual suspects. . . born, babysat, and raised during the 90's by a computer.

  4. johannes · 1556 days ago

    these people are actually people who are defending the rights of people like you, who just sit in front of american idol and badmouth them, believing what they are fed through despicable media outlets in corporate hands.

    sad, really. it seems as if you are enjoying or not caring about your freedoms being taken away. maybe, anonymous is doing too much. maybe, you deserve to lose your freedoms.

    • joyel · 1556 days ago


    • Scott · 1556 days ago

      Maybe, the long-term repercussions of their irresponsible dorkfest will be FEWER freedoms. Maybe, you need some sit-down-and-think time as much as these youngsters do.

      • sh4rkbyt3 · 1555 days ago

        Maybe you need to look at the bigger picture before YOU go shooting your mouth off!

    • secretc · 1530 days ago


      How dare these people break the law (?) and bring to OUR attention how UNsafe the internet really is. How dare they make us think twice about handing over credit card numbers to 'secure' networks.

      How dare others like Bradley Manning break the law to tell the world the truth (

      How dare these intelligent people waste their education to open our eyes to the truth!

      Leave us alone - we like walling like pigs in ignorant bliss...just look at all the other comments if you don't believe me!

  5. Anonymous · 1556 days ago

    To reply to such the negative comments, Anonymous just doesn't go out and attack something because they can. Anonymous is a movement, not an organization or a group of hactivists. Anonymous's message is mostly about having the power to protest against what is wrong or being abused. For example, back when Wikileaks posted war files of US Army; the US Gov't tried to shut down Wikileaks. Visa, Mastercard, and Paypal were all told to DENY any and all transactions going to Wikileaks and therefore, Anonymous responds with boycotts of VIsa, Mastercard, and Paypal. We as anons believe in free flow of information, and if the US Gov't wants to stop it then we protest.
    If only you knew what Anonymous was about then you too could become Anonymous.

    United as one, divided by zero.
    We are Anonymous
    We are Legion

    • Richard · 1556 days ago

      "... Anonymous responds with boycotts of ..."

      And maybe if you knew what the word "boycott" meant, we might take you more seriously.

      Visa, Mastercard, and Paypal were ordered to deny transactions going to Wikileaks; the fact that they chose not to break the law and defy those orders is not justification to attack them.

      • Anonymous · 1556 days ago

        The justification to attack was to not only bring attention to the wrong-doing by the Gov't but to also bring cause to it and not just be like everyone else sitting at home watching TV and thinking that it is wrong but not doing anything about it.

    • Scott · 1556 days ago

      I think I know what Anonymous is about: from the looks of things, Anonymous is about cowardice. You have the "power to protest" without hiding in the shadows and causing mayhem for those you claim to be defending. If your "free flow of information" means invading the privacy of everyone you can, even to the extent of endangering lives, then I have to believe the US Gov't isn't the only force that will try to stop you. I know I will.

      You are one confused individual. Even your "united as one" slogan is garbage. You are "united" only in your own mind because you distance yourself from anyone who gets nailed and is therefore no longer "anonymous". Some unity.

      • Anonymous · 1556 days ago

        To start, we haven't "hid in the shadows and cause mayhem". There is not just one way to protest, we have physical protest all across the world and not just cyber protests. Second, what lives are we endangering? And third, the Gov't has tries to stop us, but ultimately failed. I'm not going in discussion about that, if you want more info, then Google something along the lines of "HB Gary attacks on Anonymous". And finally, I am not distanced from any other anon out there. Anonymous is international, anyone can be Anonymous if they so desire. As I said, before, it is not an organization, but a movement.

        • Scott · 1551 days ago

          Anonymous = hiding in the shadows. Screwing with innocent people's lives = causing mayhem. Do I need to explain the color of your crayons next?

          Or maybe I should explain "protest" instead, since you clearly don't understand that either. Protest is an expression of objection, disapproval, or dissent. Nowhere in that definition is there any mention of causing damage to people who are peripheral to your issue. Sure, interfere with the operations that offend you. That makes sense. How did publishing the personal information of Arizona undercover police accomplish that goal? It didn't, but it DID endanger their lives.

          I'm well aware of the HB Gary trivialities, thanks. Is that your interpretation of the government giving you a hard time? That was one guy's sixth grade science experiment gone wrong. You haven't yet experienced a hard time.

          Do you realize how silly you sound? "We're united, since everyone's anonymous unless they're not, and there is no organization since we have the solidity of Jell-O, and no one speaks for us but I will right now"....reminds me of Charlie Manson. Maybe you'll share a cell someday.

          • Paige · 1397 days ago

            How are they "screwing with innocent people's lives," Scott? And perhaps before you can teach the color of crayons to obviously intelligent people, you should learn to read the definition you have posted on "protest." They ARE expressing objection, disapproval, and dissent. Do you realize what the government can and most likely will do to endanger YOUR lives as an American citizen? Go read into the new National Defense Authorization Act and tell me how many years will pass until martial law becomes eminent upon the US. Only Posse Comitatus prevents it. Anonymous tries to rid the world of injustice and you sit on your uneducated ass and ridicule them. Way to go. You complain later that no one has appointed Anonymous to be guardians of the internet. If not they, then who else will give a shit about legitimate spying on of citizens around the world through what should be a safe environment to browse, connect, shop, etc? Seriously, go read the news. Times are hard, and they'll only get worse unless SOMEONE stands up for yours, and my, freedoms.

      • Anonymous · 1341 days ago

        HA! your entire comment is a joke. Since when has any country been "united as one" these past few decades. As far as I'm concerned Anonymous has been the closest thing to "united as one" I've seen in a long time. You can tell them that they're united as one in their own mind; but as far I'm concerned, you're the only one who distances yourself from people who get nailed because your too lazy to do anything about what you complain about. Yeah, and maybe they do creep in the shadows, but it's better than some moron on the street who get's pepper-sprayed and thrown in jail. Guarantee the shadow-creepers are gonna last longer at their protest than those guys. One more thing, the only people that Anonymous has been invading privacy on is media, government agencies, businesses, and corrupt business individuals. And be glad that they have only been doing DDoS attacks, it could've been much worse. So if you're gonna complain about stopping them, why don't you bend over, strip your pants and wait for the "Big Daddy" corporations to insert.

    • Margot · 1556 days ago

      Who are you to speak for Anonymous? You're trying to make it sound like you're a member when it's more likely you're hanger-on who guffaws and agrees with everything that erupts from the Anonymous cesspool.

      • Anonymous · 1556 days ago

        A member of what? It isn't an organization or group. And I am speaking fro them because I am trying to get their point across because no one here seems to understand it.

        • Steve · 1556 days ago

          Nobody appointed Anonymous to be guardians of the internet, you have no mandate with the general public to act on our behalf or in our name.

          If anything the actions of Anonymous will be self defeating to your goals, Anonymous' methods of illegal DDoS and website attacks will only cause governments to see the need for greater regulation and law enforcement of the Internet.

          The Internet is like the wild west, but remember the wild west had law and order brought to it in the end, so will the Internet its only a matter of time.

          • sh4rkbyt3 · 1555 days ago

            And who appointed the governments to regulate the Internet Steve? I've been on since BBS's were around and the LAST thing we need are governments ultimately running the propaganda show with an iron fist, which is what we're all headed towards (Patriot Act anyone?). You and the short-minded illiterates need to think beyond what you see and hear on public news channels and newspapers. Much like in the 70's during the Vietnam War we only got to see what they wanted us to see and more times than not, they lied to us. Remove your head from your proverbial butthole and look beyond the curtain!

  6. Richard · 1556 days ago

    Nice to see the usual level of grammar - "the leader's of Italian anonymous was arrested", "is not been dismantled", and the obligatory confusion of "there" and "their".

    Does anyone actually learn to write English any more?

    • Well, to be fair, this is about Anonymous participants in Italy -- the fact that they can put together a release as coherent as that in a foreign language (complete with some native speaker mistakes) is actually pretty impressive.

  7. Jamie · 1556 days ago

    Such a great bunch of folk commenting on these blogs!

    Nothing more than sweeping, generalised and stereotyped statements made by people who don't know better.

    Most of these "kids" and "douchebags" probably have decent jobs, or are doing well at school They are doing good, but in a different way that people, thanks mainly to the media, are likely to comprehend.

    Because of Anon and Lulz, companies are starting to actually give a crap about security. The security of our data, banking, social security, etc...

    Trampling on the rights of people who they're defending? And put in jail for a long time...

    Hah, more money probably goes on wars or new construction, and schooling, than the governments spend on legal costs associated.

    Oh well.

  8. Abcd · 1556 days ago

    Any person who does not know the difference between there and their does not represent me. My spelling may leave a lot to be desired but I can at least manage that. Anon lulz... Whoever, they stopped representing the common folk the moment they started attacking the same common folk they claim to defend.

    It's like someone punching you in the face and then asking you to thank them for it because they taught you it might be a better idea to duck next time.

    In summary there... Their!

    • dfasdfsafs · 1543 days ago

      Well, if you had bothered to read some of the comments you would realize that those who wrote the speech were from Italy. English is obviously not their first language.

  9. Three months ago I thought that I live in the wrong time. It was disgusting to look at all the humiliation of humanity, I was very disappointed in this world where there are no heroes, where all were small and pathetic. And now I saw the young guys who want to change the world, and in me there is hope that this time where I live seovsem not empty, it is not ugly, not prigodenoe not for life. Is it people who have the grandeur and sense of freedom for which we all live, the freedom that gives you the greatest sense of pride that you have lived the life of man is not in vain, you have changed the world what prevented many people around you, you become the one who changed the world . Who would you have been Anonymus honor for me to live with you at one time! I wish you to be invisible in everything you do!

    I translated it using google translator sorry for mistakes if any.

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About the author

Graham Cluley runs his own award-winning computer security blog at, and is a veteran of the anti-virus industry having worked for a number of security companies since the early 1990s. Now an independent security analyst, he regularly makes media appearances and gives computer security presentations. Follow him on Twitter at @gcluley