Three members of the loose-knit computer hacker organization "Anonymous" were arrested by the Spanish police on Friday. Anonymous is the group that recently hacked into the Sony Playstation Network and heisted personal information related to some 100,000 users.
The three men arrested on Friday were not linked to that particular attack however they were accused of organizing another attack that temporarily rendered some Sony websites inaccessible.
Anonymous have been busy of late, launching attacks on websites belonging to the Church of Scientology, MasterCard, Amazon.com. The group are sympathetic to Julian Assange and have repeatedly hit targets they regard as hostile towards the Wikileaks founder. Members of the group are known to be fond of sporting the Guy Fawkes mask worn by the main character in "V For Vendetta."
Self-described "hacktivists" belonging to Anonymous have also been linked to attacks on government computer networks in countries such as Egypt, Algeria, Libya, Iran, Chile, Columbia and New Zealand. So far Anonymous hackers don't appear to have been involved in any attacks for financial profit.
Most of Anonymous' attacks come in the form of denial of service attacks in which thousands of infected "zombie" computers overwhelm the targeted website and cause it to virtually collapse.
Even though they've never launched any kind of profiteering hack, the group are regarded as being very dangerous by authorities. Spanish police, who made Friday's arrests in Barcelona, Almeria and Alicante, went as far as to say that "NATO considers them to be a threat to the military alliance," and being "capable of collapsing a country's administrative structure."
Anonymous have already indicated they plan on retaliating for the arrests. A message put out on the group's Twitter feed Friday said, "We are legion, so EXPECT US."