As LulzSec Claims CIA Coup, ‘Anonymous’ Hackers Arrested Worldwide

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As hacktivist group LulzSec steps up its game and targets serious quarry like the U.S. Senate and CIA, authorities worldwide have been rounding up individuals suspected of participating in Anonymous, the group behind scores of international cyber attacks, most notoriously recent ones against Sony.

LulzSec—purportedly a more aggressive Anonymous splinter group—claimed it attacked and took down the CIA’s website Wednesday afternoon (the CIA has yet to confirm the hack), tweeting “Tango down – cia.gov – for the lulz” just after 6pm ET. And the U.S. Senate noted last night that it had actually been attacked a second time by the group (the first time occurred last weekend) but managed to prevent them from obtaining sensitive information.

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But while LulzSec seems to be hacking almost daily with impunity, International Business Times reports that as many as 32 members of Anonymous in Turkey, Spain, and the U.K. have either been detained by European officials or are awaiting trial for their alleged role in criminal hack-related activities.

In Turkey, where members of Anonymous allegedly attempted to overwhelm Turkish government websites, raids by authorities rounded up 32 suspected members of Anonymous on June 13th. It’s thought that tens of thousands of computers may have been used to bring the Turkish government sites down using an open source “denial of service” app dubbed “Low Orbit Ion Cannon” or LOIC (named after a weapon in video game series Command & Conquer).

IBT notes that several of the arrested may in fact be minors, and that the Turkish state news agency is saying nine minors (of the 32 alleged total) have since been released.

(More on TIME.com: Turkish Authorities Claim Arrest of 32 ‘Anonymous’ Hackers)

In Spain last Friday, June 10th, police nabbed three individuals allegedly involved in recent hack attacks against Sony’s PlayStation Network (among other cyber-iniquities, including attacks against Spanish banks and an Italian energy company). The three were arrested independently in the Spanish cities of Almeria, Barcelona and Valencia.

Anonymous responded by targeting the Spanish Police website, managing—according to the BBC—to knock it offline for about an hour.

And in the U.K., British authorities have since January 2011 raided the homes of and arrested six suspected Anonymous members for alleged attacks last December on Amazon, PayPal and various credit card sites.

It’s anyone’s guess how much good the roundups will do, as these groups generally pride themselves on their “headlessness.” And with all the free publicity, they’re no doubt recruiting en masse.

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