Anonymous Members Arrested for Hacking Vatican Site

Dennis Faas's picture

Law enforcement officials in Italy have reportedly arrested four members of Anonymous. The suspects allegedly carried out attacks on a number of prominent Italian websites and online services.

The suspects are all aged between 20 and 34 and were placed under arrest in the Italian cities of Turin, Venice, and Bologna. One suspect was arrested in the southern community of Lecce.

According to police, the suspects were part of Anonymous Italy, which carried out hacks of prominent commercial and government websites. Some of those sites were owned by the Vatican, Italy's prime minister's office, the country's defense ministry, and the Bank of Italy.

National railway and police sites were also reportedly hacked.

Operation "Tango Down" a Success

Italian police say they had been tracking the suspects for the past two years.

"They were like a cancerous cell within the Anonymous organization," noted Ivano Gabrielli, a deputy police chief at Italy's National Center for Computer Crime and the Protection of Critical Infrastructure (CNAIPIC). (Source:

The CNAIPIC helped lead the investigation, which was code-named "Tango Down." (Source:

"It was a vanguard cell that was carving out a position of power at the head of Anonymous Italy," Gabrielli added. "That's somewhat anomalous in a supposedly anarchic structure."

Not much is known about the suspects, though reports have indicated that some were talented IT professionals with day jobs.

Suspects May Have Feuded With Other Anonymous Members

It's also been said that the suspects clashed with other members of Anonymous, and may not have acted with the approval of their colleagues.

The suspects will, for the first time ever in Italy, face the charge of using the Internet to commit a criminal conspiracy. If convicted, they could be sentenced to eight years in prison.

For now, Gabrielli says Italian law enforcement authorities are very pleased with the arrests.

"The investigation was coordinated by the Rome prosecutor's office and any trial will probably be celebrated in the capital," he said. (Source:

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