Spanish police said today it has arrested three people who were allegedly involved in the PlayStation Network attacks that brought the system to a halt last month. The hackers are said to be part of "Anonymous", a semi-centralized activist group known for bringing down several government websites in the past.

Anonymous Logo

One of the hackers, a 31-year-old man who hosted a server in his apartment that was used to hack PlayStation Network, was arrested in the city of Almería on May 18th. The remaining two suspects were arrested in the cities of Barcelona and Valencia, although the statement by the Spanish National Police doesn’t detail where.

These arrests have allegedly brought down a local dependency of the hacker group Anonymous. The same group was responsible for attacks on several Government sites, such as the Spanish Ministry of Culture after the country imposed tougher anti-piracy laws, and the Australian Government after announcing a law to essentially ban pornography on the Internet, unless users individually opted out of the filter. Back in April, the group released a video on YouTube threatening to publish sensitive information belonging to PlayStation Network customers (which they did):

It’s important to remember that Anonymous is a larger group than 3 people, and while these might have been arrested, the group has thousands of members who organize attacks on message boards and IRC channels.

Meanwhile, the attacks on Sony caused the company to lose roughly $173 million refunding customers and developing additional security measures. Along with the Sony attack, other hacking groups have joined in as well: a team that identifies itself as "Lulz Security" broke into Sony Music Japan and Sony Music Greece last month and released data belonging to users.

PlayStation Network logo

On the other hand, some Anonymous supporters argue that the group uses these attacks to fight against online censorship and corporate interests, such as anti-piracy laws they deem overzealous. The group became well-known in the media due to its recent involvement in defending Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, after he was arrested for leaking classified documents, by, you guessed it: launching a denial of service (DoS) attack against PayPal, Amazon, Visa, Mastercard and the Swiss Bank. The group has also held several protests advocating for free speech and internet freedom.

Whatever your views on WikiLeaks or Sony are, most people would agree that hacking servers isn’t the best way to improve a group’s credibility, especially when it involves leaking the data belonging to innocent people who are just trying to get their PlayStations to work. I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw more indictments over the next few months.

(via New York Times)

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