According to a New York Times report, Spanish police have arrested three men they claim were involved in hacking Sony’s PlayStation Network and the PlayStation Store. Police also claim that the trio are part of the hacktivist group Anonymous. The three men were released on their own recognizance pending formal charges but are expected to be charged with "forming an illegal association to attack public and corporate Web sites," which carries a maximum sentence of up to three years.
The official Twitter feed for the hacktivist group does provide some confirmation that the three are somehow connected to the group:
"Spanish Police dismantle the #Anonymous hacker group in Spain. They attacked #Playstation Store," read a tweet from the group’s official Twitter feed early this morning. "Police arrested 3 #Anonymous leaders in Barcelona, Alicante & Almería. They attacked governments of Egypt, Algeria, Libya, Colombia…"
"#Anonymous has thousands of ‘zombies’ computers infected all over the world."
A subsequent tweet directed at Spanish law enforcement offer a simple, ominous message from the group:
"Dear @policia, Expect us. #Anonymous."
The NYT report adds that police are alleging that one of the men ran a computer server in "an apartment in the northern port city of Gijo" that was used to attack Sony’s services. It has long been speculated that the hack’s point of origin was somewhere in Europe, but a handful of arrests doesn’t add any real credence to that theory. It is also unknown if these arrests are an isolated incident or the beginning of a sweep by law enforcement.
Spanish police also allege that the trio were directly involved in hacking attacks on BBVA and Bankia, ENEL, and government servers belonging to Egypt, Algeria, Libya, Iran, Chile, Colombia, and New Zealand.
More on this story as it develops. Thanks to Rodrigo Ybáñez García for the tip on this one.