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Chile Arrests 4 Alleged Hackers

Police nab suspects responsible for hacking into goverment sites in South America, Asia and United States.

(Santiago, Chile) Chilean police arrested four suspected computer hackers on Monday, accusing them of being part of an international group that has broken into thousands of government Web sites around the globe in recent years.

Police Chief Gerardo Raventos said the group was responsible for "infiltrating" more than 8,000 sites, including some run by the governments of Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, Peru, Turkey, the United States and Venezuela.

It was not clear whether the hackers were suspected of vandalizing Web pages or stealing information. "The investigation continues to determine what the intentions of these people were," Raventos said.

One of the suspects, as he arrived at police headquarters, shouted to reporters that the group had acted "for fun."

Raventos said the suspects were members of a "big" international hackers' group and had been under investigation for eight months with the cooperation of authorities in the United States, Israel and several South American countries.

Raventos identified Leonardo Hernandez, 23, as the Chilean hackers' leader. Hernandez was known in cyberspace as Nettoxic and is wanted in several countries, he added.

The other suspects used the online handles SSH-2, Codiox and Phnx, Raventos said.

The four were arrested Monday in the capital of Santiago and the nearby cities of San Bernardo and Rancagua. Prosecutor Mario Schilling said they could be charged with "electronic sabotage" and face prison terms of up to five years.

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