BRASILIA — The shadowy computer hacker group Anonymous said Wednesday it attacked the websites of three major Brazilian banks over the past few days to protest widespread inequality in Latin America's leading economy.
Hackers from Anonymous's Brazilian branch told the economy daily Valor that their attacks on Bradesco, Itau and Banco do Brasil did not aim to defraud clients, but were meant to protest "the countless inequalities in the country."
The last to be targeted was the website of Banco do Brasil, the country's largest state-run bank.
Monday, Itau, the country's biggest private bank and the biggest in Latin America, was attacked, followed a day later by Bradesco, Brazil's third biggest bank.
"Attention sailors: Target hit ! Itau is adrift. TANGO DOWN !," the hackers crowed.
Itau said in a statement that its web page was at times "unavailable" but did not confirm it was under under pirate attack, according to Valor.
Bradesco said it experienced a large quantity of hits, well above its site's capacity.
"Message to the big banks: We don't forget you. Your turn will come," Anonymous Brasil warned.
Last month, Anonymous already breached the websites of Brazil's federal district as well as a site belonging to popular Brazilian singer Paula Fernandes to protest the forced closure of Megaupload.com.
The hackers succeeded in shutting down Fernandes' website, posting the image of a grim-faced joker with a message saying, "If Megaupload is down, you are down too." It was signed "GhostofThreads."
Megaupload is a file-sharing service company that allows customers to upload files to a website, where their information can be downloaded by other Internet users. The US Justice Department shut down the company's website on January 19 after its owners were indicted on copyright infringement charges.
Hong Kong-based Megaupload has over 150 million users and 50 million visitors per day, or 4% of all global Internet traffic.
Last October, one hacker breached the official blog of the Brazilian presidency to post a message denouncing corruption.
And last June, the pirates also attacked websites of Brazil's state institutions.