Members of the rogue hacktivist movement Anonymous appear to remain defiant in the wake of multiple arrests carried out by Italian authorities earlier this week.
Reports indicate that Italian authorities had conducted 31 raids connected to investigations into recent hacks and attacks claimed by the hacker collective, including operations target at the Italian government.
Indications are that fifteen people have been arrested so far in the course of the investigation, including several minors.
Initial reports state that Italian authorities are actively seeking several dozen more suspects in connection with attacks against the Italian legislature and AGCOM, the national communications regulatory agency.
Anonymous responded to the arrests by issuing a press release on the AnonOps website which reiterates earlier claims that the movement does not maintain a leadership hierarchy, though ample evidence exists that demonstrates the movement operates under the dictates of a core group of members.
The Anonymous press release is as follows (typos and misspellings included):
A few hours ago, the Italian police announced complaints, arrests and raids against a number of members of Italian anonymous. The media has spread the news that the entire Italian network of anonymous has been dismantled and the “leader’s” of Italian anonymous was arrested.
Anonymous denies these media reports an reiterates that this is impossible: Anonymous is not been dismantled. Anonymous has no leaders, no structure. All anonymous members operate at the same level. Those arrested are not “dangerous hackers”as the media calls them, but people like you. They have been arrested while peacefully protesting for there and your rights. Our protest will continue louder than ever.
The Italian Anonymous have not fallen because of this cowardly attempt to dismantle them and announce consequences for there actions taken by the police, to demonstrate that anonymous is present and fights on, like it did in the past and will in the future, for the freedom of the internet. Italy anonymous calls all citizens of the internet and the international anonymous: We need you! Let them have it, stronger than ever.
Though no official operation has been announced in retaliation for the arrests, it is likely that Anonymous followers are hatching one or more attacks against Italian government sites.
Anonymous has been on a recruiting mission since the splinter group LulzSec announced the end of operations after fifty days "lulz", as the group terms their assaults on private and public targets.
The publication is intended to instruct aspiring armchair hackers on methods used to obscure one's identity while conducting operations online and avoid exposing one's identity to rival hackers and law enforcement.
The publication is more evidence that Anonymous' leadership may be shifting tactics by moving away from conducting offensive operations themselves, and instead are concentrating on efforts to enable others take up the hacktivist cause.
Anonymous also formed the School4lulz, a resource for hi-tech hooligans to learn the finer art of hacking, cross-site scripting, SQL injections, botnet herding, doxing, and tools of the trade, though the website has been inaccessible for several days.