Chile snares suspects in global website attacks

Chile arrested on Monday members of a local group they say hacked into thousands of websites globally, including those of U.S. space agency NASA and three Latin American governments, police said.

The bust follows an eight-month-long probe that involved international intelligence agencies and ended with the arrest of four Chileans, including two minors.

"According to our records they could be the third most important (hackers) in the world," Gerardo Raventos, of Chile's police cyber-crime investigations division, told local radio.

A police spokesman told Reuters they had been chasing the group for eight months.

According to local media reports, the group hacked into around 8,000 different websites and stole information from private companies.

Officials said the hackers attacked the websites of several governments, including Argentina, Peru and Venezuela. Chilean television showed images of the Chilean national flag posted on the Web sites of other countries, and said the hackers had put them there.

It was unclear exactly how the group broke into the sites or what their motives were.

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