MADRID, Spain - Spanish police have arrested five people suspected of hacking into or disabling thousands of Internet sites, some of them run by government agencies in the United States, Latin America and Asia, authorities said yesterday.
The National Police said the suspects belonged to one of the most active hacker groups on the Internet and said two of the suspects were 16 years old. The others are 19 or 20. On the Internet, the group calls itself D.O.M Team, police said.
One of the group's techniques was to infiltrate Web sites and insert a page of its own, police said.
The group has attacked about 21,000 Web sites over the last two years, police said in a statement. The five were arrested last week in Barcelona, Burgos, Malaga and Valencia.
The statement did not say which government Web sites the suspects are accused of tampering with.
The Spanish newspaper El Mundo reported in March that the group had infiltrated NASA's Web site. A police official said yesterday that she could not confirm this, and she refused to specify which sites had been hit. The official spoke on condition of anonymity in line with department rules.
The newspaper said the group also hacked the Venezuelan national telephone company's site and that of the Spanish telephone operator Jazztel, among others.
El Mundo said that it had contacted the group in March and that members described themselves not as delinquents, but as computer lovers who raided Web sites to show system administrators the sites' vulnerabilities.
The Spanish investigation began in March after the Web page of a Spanish political party, Izquierda Unida, was disabled shortly after Spain's general election March 9.