More than a dozen members of Anonymous have been arrested as part of a nationwide sweep being carried out by the FBI.
The FBI carried out raids early this morning on houses in New York, New Jersey, California and Florida, arresting 14 people as part of an ongoing investigation into the activities of the online activist organization Anonymous, including attacks against numerous corporations and government agencies. Computers and related equipment were seized from at least some of the homes.
“I can confirm that we’re conducting law enforcement actions relating to a criminal investigation,” FBI spokeswoman Alicia Senisbaugh told Fox News. The specific charges being brought against the arrested Anons are not yet known.
The difficulty for law enforcement, as ZDNet points out, is that trying to take down Anonymous is like “playing a game of Whac-A-Mole.” Its membership is a loose, globe-spanning collective, it boasts no conventional leadership and anyone can “join” – or leave – at any time. Law enforcement agencies can track down individual members responsible for specific crimes, but actually bringing down Anonymous is a whole different, and far more difficult, kettle of wax.
Anonymous’ recent exploits include DDoS attacks against PayPal, Visa and Mastercard arising from their refusal to process donations to Wikileaks, a retaliatory attack against Spain’s national police force, an attack against Sony – but not the PSN hack! – and the exposure of corruption in the acrimonious Wisconsin labor dispute.