Turkey Cracks Down On Anonymous Hacking Group With 32 Arrests

Turkish officials reportedly apprehended the individuals Monday during a series of raids in 12 of the country's provinces.

The raids occurred Sunday, following just days after Anonymous issued a series of denial-of-service attacks on several Turkish government Web sites and telecoms, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Anonymous is a loosely organized group of hackers, located around the world, known for co-ordinating denial of service attacks on high profile organizations and governments. The attacks bombard a Web site with more data than it can handle, effectively causing the system to crash.

The group said in blog post that it had launched the denial of service attacks in Turkey as a way to protest the government’s routine practice of Internet censorship. The distributed denial-of-service attacks used a co-ordinated network of Low Orbit Ion Canons (LOICs) to effectively shut down the targeted Web sites of Turkey’s telecommunications authority and other government agencies, the group said. The sites were disabled for several hours on Thursday evening.

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Anonymous hackers claimed the attacks were launched prior to Turkey's scheduled release of Internet filters, which Turks will be required to implement, designed to block certain Web sites.

“Anonymous is protesting Internet censorship in Turkey. The Turkish government plans to implement a filter on Internet browsing on Aug. 22 under the pretense of protecting the youth from ‘harmful elements on the web.’ Critics argue that the filter will lead to wide-spread censorship,” Anonymous said in the blog post.

The group cited numerous Web sites that it claimed have historically been blocked by the Turkish government, including YouTube, Rapidshare, Fileserve and Google services, among others.

“These acts of censorship are inexcusable. The Internet is a platform for freedom, a place where anyone and everyone can come together, discuss topics, and share information, without the fear of government interference,” the group wrote.

Meanwhile, the Turkish raids followed after police arrested three Anonymous members in Spain Friday, claiming the individuals were key leaders in the hacking group. Anonymous responded that the three men were indeed members, but denied that they were key decision makers, maintaining that the group’s structure is horizontal, prohibiting any one person to be at the top of a hierarchy.

In response to the arrests in Spain, Anonymous launched another denial-of-service attack that shut down the Spanish police Web site.

Anonymous hackers have claimed responsibility for targeting the Web sites of Sony Corp., two large Spanish banks, as well the governments of Egypt, Libya and Iran and other countries.

The hacking group Anonymous came into the public eye last year, when members launched a series of denial of service attacks targeting organizations that had discontinued services with maligned WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange , targeting the sites of MasterCard, Visa, and PayPal, among others.