The Italian Almanac

hacker attack

Hacker Attack

Police arrested four Italian members of the international 'hacktivist' network Anonymous for allegedly hacking into computer systems of the government, parliament and the Vatican. The four also allegedly got into the systems of key infrastructure and major firms but police have not yet said what damage they did.

Raids were carried out "across Italy", police said. "The group carried out a series of attacks against the computer systems of critical infrastructure, institutional sites and important companies". Police also said the four were a 43-year-old man from near Lecce, in southern Italy, a 20-year-old from Bologna, in central Italy, a 28-year-old from the province of Venice and a 25-year-old from the province of Turin.

"They acted under the cover of Anonymous", police said. Anonymous, a digital activism umbrella group linked to numerous high-profile cyber attacks worldwide, has stepped up a campaign in Italy over the last two years. In April hackers from the group brought down the home pages of the Italian interior ministry, the police and the Carabinieri. Hackers under the same moniker successfully took down the Vatican home page twice in March.

The cell was accused of carrying out attacks on the Italian Senate, House and central government, as well as targeting other Italian organizations such as AGCOM, the national communications regulatory body; energy giants ENEL and ENI; state broadcaster RAI; and Mediaset, the country's largest commercial broadcaster, owned by Premier Silvio Berlusconi.

Anonymous came to world prominence in December 2010 when thousands of supporters downloaded its attack software to defend WikiLeaks, the whistle-blowing website founded by Julian Assange.