Sixteen suspected members of “Anonymous” were arrested this morning in states including Florida, New Jersey and California, in what appears to be a nationwide takedown of the notorious hacking group, FoxNews.com has exclusively learned.
The arrests and the 30 to 40 search warrants issued by the feds Tuesday are part of an ongoing investigation into Anonymous, which has claimed responsibility for numerous cyberattacks against a variety of websites including Visa and Mastercard.
Some of the arrests were out of the San Francisco field office, sources said, activity that followed searches earlier in the day in the New York area at residences believed to be associated with members of the hacking collective, FoxNews.com has learned.
“I can confirm that we’re conducting law enforcement actions relating to a criminal investigation,” said Alicia Sensibaugh, a spokeswoman for FBI’s San Francisco office, out of which sources said multiple search warrants were executed Tuesday morning.
Sources said the California searches, which were carried out at 6 a.m. PDT, are connected to allegations that a national network of hackers carried out distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks against numerous companies and their websites.
More than 10 FBI agents arrived at the Baldwin, N.Y., home of Giordani Jordan with a search warrant for computers and computer-related accessories, removing at least one laptop from the premises.
The Anonymous group is a loose collection of cybersavvy activists inspired by WikiLeaks and its flamboyant head Julian Assange to fight for “Internet freedom” — along the way defacing websites, shutting down servers, and scrawling messages across screens web-wide.