Security

Suspected mastermind behind hacking group LulzSec arrested

Just days after the hacking group LulzSec claimed it brought down the US Central Intelligence Agency's website, its suspected 19-year-old mastermind has been arrested.

Just days after the hacking group LulzSec claimed it brought down the US Central Intelligence Agency's website, its suspected 19-year-old mastermind has been arrested. The teenager is currently being questioned under the Computer Misuse Act and Fraud Act.

A Scotland Yard spokesman said: "The arrest follows an investigation into network intrusions and distributed denial of service attacks against a number of international business and intelligence agencies by what is believed to be the same hacking group. Searches at a residential address in Wickford, Essex, following the arrest last night have led to the examination of a significant amount of material. These forensic examinations remain ongoing."

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Toni Bowers is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.

57 comments
kayze834
kayze834

Illegal downloading laws are in place for August 2011 in New Zealand that anyone illegally downloading will be banned from there internet connection for 3 months and if the law is repeatedley broken than hefty fines will be in place. LulzSec believes this law is wrong and has threatend the "Behive" (Wellington Parliment Building) of their hacking abilities. I vouch for this group! Why should the NZ Government produce hefty fines for their own takings? After all, the downloading is of no connection to the government itself and is simply getting FREE $$$ What a stupid law. From a NZ Herself

dcolbert
dcolbert

LulzSec The Lulz Boat Ignorant press have failed to realize that actual authorities - i.e. Scotland Yard - didn't imply in the slightest that Ryan was LulzSec. 8 minutes ago Favorite Retweet Reply More on Twitter. They claim the charges against Ryan are not related to the Lulzsec attacks at all.

jck
jck

Supposedly, he was running the DDoS attacks from his home? And, hosting one of LulzSec's mIRC channels on "his server"?? You're not a mastermind if you do that. You're looking for trouble. Personally, I think they just got a lowbie to try and fish for info.

Hempman
Hempman

If it is true that this is one of, or the actual, guy(s) who hacked the CIA, then that is WAY different than whatever clear text website might also hav been hacked by the same guy. I have to concur - if you arrest two people, and the organization they supposedly lead don't even suffer a bump in the road, you did not get who you claim.

ITOdeed
ITOdeed

I agree with Scott that, "Every time a high profile site is hacked, this puts more ammunition in lawmakers hands to write into law the Lieberman-Collins bill..." It's too bad that the ignorant hackers don't realize this. The vast majority of people don't care about excessive regulation by the government, because they think like the sheep that they are, "Just let us graze in peace..."

NHS Tony
NHS Tony

he will undoubtably be working for a UK or US goverment agency soon enough, and disappear off the radar. move over to the dark side and learn his craft well... (LULZ)

seanferd
seanferd

Or are they going to continue to be moronic as TJ Maxx was?

ogregator
ogregator

I'm betting AVG and Kaspy has his number by now.

dcolbert
dcolbert

What does @lulzsec have to say about this? There was a previous bust that the authorities claimed was Lulzsec whom Lulzsec claimed was unrelated to their organization. Here... 53 minutes ago from @lulzsec: Clearly the UK police are so desperate to catch us that they've gone and arrested someone who is, at best, mildly associated with us. Lame. It seems that even if they have busted two members, there are still members out there. They might as well be fighting Anonymous at this point.

Matt
Matt

As with anything the human race has been trouble shooting since the dawn of time. Things have to be Broken or Hacked to find the weaknesses. Once found we can then fix and repair and plan to make things better. If the kid can hack into something at his age why lock him up? Put him on the payroll and have him find new holes in the armor. The problem with security software companies is that they are always in reactive mode. We should learn from good hackers not put them behind bars.

driftair
driftair

Initially, self integrity is not addressed within American, European culture, Education etc. Without a firm inner foundation any structure will crumble. We seem to tend to always place the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff, rather than post lights barriers and signs above and warning of coming danger. (An exaggeration when applied to all things) Our country seems to have evolved to protect the guilty more than the innocent. Many sick and harmful criminals are frequently being released into the public where they can teach the young their craft! and of course do more of the same themselves. There are countries and societies that have taught and encouraged respect for self, elders, and others. There is great benefit in such practices but it seems mostly overlooked. We all seem eager to react in defense of whatever we feel is right, and that does not make it so. A person defending them self against some inner dishonesty is their own worst enemy and few realize it. Language and symbols we forget are just that, and not the actual reality experienced. Loosing hands and feet for crimes may prove a shock strong enough to cause many to think twice before diving into a life of power mongering where they try to harm others in their attempts to bolster their pride, power, and prosperity. Alert attention to all things is needed now, everywhere, by everyone.

DoctorSan
DoctorSan

Unlike the others above suggesting this guy is some sort of gifted prodigy, I'd suggest he may be no more than a teenage dumbass considering the alleged bragging versus the alleged actual intrusion. What? a teenage wannabe haxx0r on the internet? Well I never..

JBrown10
JBrown10

He is 19 -- not a genius. Calling him a mastermind (a comic term for evil genius) is just the companies way of making us look at a shiny object. Sony was clear text, and no real security, not even the basics. The kid didn't have to be smart to hack them, he just had to be willing. These companies did the equalvant of leaving their front doors unlocked and open, the kid just walked in and took stuff. This is still a crime, but it doesn't take brains.

mckinnej
mckinnej

They had some "success" with organizations that couldn't or wouldn't go after them. They got cocky and started messing with the big boys. That huge mistake ensured it would come to a bad end. I hope they had a good life up to now because the rest of it is going to suck.

MeijerTSR
MeijerTSR

They were able to track him, in how long? A few days? If he really wants to be a hero, hack China!

santeewelding
santeewelding

A disturbance in the Force that is TR: Negative votes coming out of nowhere, applied to posts that don't hardly deserve them.

AnsuGisalas
AnsuGisalas

the law will open the door for requiring ISPs to monitor their customers, which the Media Industry will help enforce. This in turn will open the door for Government scrutiny of ISP records. Presto - Control.

apotheon
apotheon

Don't you mean "IRC channels"? I'm pretty sure mIRC is just an IRC client.

ThePickle
ThePickle

I don't know who is dumber - those who think that this kid was somehow a "genius", or the kid himself.

Tony G.
Tony G.

They're doing exactly that. Chasing anon. My main concern is that this will all be leveraged into an across-the-board attack on our online rights and privacy, and this is a sentiment I am glad to see echoed across the net.

Spitfire_Sysop
Spitfire_Sysop

These are cave man tactics. In the modern age we need to evolve better ways of dealing with our problems. A punitive system assumes that some people are bad and must be punished. I am no psycologist but I believe that we have made progress in understanding why people do the things they do. We need to scrap the reactive model (ambulance at the bottom of the cliff) and turn to a system that is focus on education and rehabilitation. Our punitive justice system is subject to high rates of re-offenders not because these people can't change but because there was never any real effort to actaulize the change you expect to see.

wdewey@cityofsalem.net
wdewey@cityofsalem.net

I would agree that the western media does not promote integrity and that some laws protect the guilty more than the innocent, but saying it is a culture thing I disagree with. There are countries that have way more natural resources than the US does, but they can not feed their own people because of constant fighting. The "I want stuff and I will get it any way I can" attitude I personally feel is some of the why behind the constant conflict in these areas. Loosing hands and feet is an interesting punishment, but I don't see the countries that promote this rigid punishment structure as ones that I want to emulate. Their may be less theft, but there is a lot more violence and oppression from what I have read. Bill

AnsuGisalas
AnsuGisalas

You know what makes the IQ a quotient? It's divided by age. All things being equal, the higher the age, the lower the IQ (which is bogus anyway). Not a genius... for getting caught? A genius can lack common sense.

JamesRL
JamesRL

For suggesting that I discriminated against interview candidates with bad shoes.....

dcolbert
dcolbert

Those who think the kid they caught is the RIGHT kid? Rule of thumb... When you arrest someone as the "leader" of a group, and the group continues on... you may not have caught who you thought you did. The smart person watches, waits, and reserves judgment until more facts are available.

dcolbert
dcolbert

With an article titled "When Anonymous Goes Too Far" here on TR. My concern is that we're navigating a course fraught with peril on all sides. Imagine when completely partisan political groups decide that democracy and liberty aren't as important as driving their social and political revolution - be it liberal or conservative - using the same kind of methods that Anonymous and Luzsec employ? I mean, the blueprint is there, and it is in SO many ways similar to fighting a terrorist group as opposed to a state sanctioned military. No one has to claim responsibility. The DNC or GOP can safely say, "We do not condone the kind of irresponsible activities that have been displayed in this election" on their public face - heck many of them might even really believe it - but that doesn't change the fact that Lulzsec and Anonymous represent actual cyber-anarchy. (Neon Samuria is going to come in and say I am misusing that word, now). The example that caught my attention was the public flogging and exposure by Anonymous of a mother who sold her son's beyblade toys on eBay as punishment. Anonymous is Judge Dredd. Judge, jury and executioner of punishment - as mob rule. They used to call that a lynching. Could the Weiner case be the first example of political opponents using Anonymous style tactics in politics? I mean, heck, if so, that is an OLD political dirty trick from the analog world, but you see my point. The question really is WHERE DO YOU STAND on this. On one side you've got an Orwellian dystopian government with an ever tighter grip on personal liberties. On the other you've got a world ran by flash-mobs and tyranny of the digital majority. Either option sounds like the back-story for the kind of movie that makes you think the future isn't looking very bright.

AnsuGisalas
AnsuGisalas

See, it relies on the assumption that "If we're bad to people, they'll be better, afterwards". A distinction needs to be made: Correction vs. Containment. Certain people commit certain crimes which cannot be tolerated. It's not safe to assume that these people can be corrected (pedophiles are among these). There is absolutely no point in subjecting pedophiles to "correction". Contain them. Put them in as humane as possible a storage facility, there to live out their lives. Shoplifters : Putting a shoplifter in a detention centre, to be subjected to drug abuse and a schooling in violent crime... doesn't make any sense either. Additionally, I'd say that putting any man in a cell to have their rectal orifices abused is "cruel and unusual punishment", which is against the US constitution.

ThePickle
ThePickle

Let's just take the child molester and give him a big 'ol hug. Prison time? Pffft...that's so caveman...and totally 10,000 years ago! In our "evolved" modern society, we shouldn't punish killers, rapists, and child molesters. We should act in a civilized manner and just hug them till they squeal with delight, and then promptly release them back into society, because after a good dose of love, everyone knows they'll NEVER re-offend. Yeah...that's the ticket.

ThePickle
ThePickle

You got negative comments because you were insinuating that the person was a less-than-stellar candidate because his SUIT didn't measure up to your fashionista senses. The comment about shoes was justified, as I too wouldn't look kindly upon someone coming into an interview dressed in a suit combined with dirty running shoes with holes in them. You want to hold his grubby shoes against the guy? No problem...I'm with you. But where I DID have a problem was the way you commented about his "cheap suit". That suggests that your primary concern was with the label on his suit, as opposed to his qualifications for the job. In a follow-up post, you claimed you were not a fashion expert (or words to that effect), but if that's true, you wouldn't have felt the need to be critical of a person's suit. And who else but a fashion expert -- or primadonna -- would be able to state that a suit is "cheap" simply by LOOKING at it?

Craig Mcd.
Craig Mcd.

that you deserved the negative votes. And showing it again here, by whining.

dcolbert
dcolbert

The question that remains now is, is THIS person one of the people who were responsible for the recent attacks under this pseudonym. I am unsure, but my opinion is the same as yours. Highly unlikely.

JamesRL
JamesRL

But in my opinion, highly unlikely. I would venture, like anonymous, its probably a group working together, not one person. Possible to be one person, just not as likely.

Hempman
Hempman

Nope - the guy who exposed Weiner counts this as HIS FOURTH such attack.

AnsuGisalas
AnsuGisalas

I never manage to keep intent and means entirely separate. I don't think there's a need to make a special hellhole prison for the few 100% certain cases of 100% unsalvageables, in addition to the reversible ones for the 90-99% certain cases. Reversible means that - other than time passed - the sentence can be reversed by setting them free, at least to the extent that the person can live a normal life. And I wouldn't want to risk guards at the hellhole enjoying themselves too much. Don't worry about the minus votes, I scolded some immature negvote gremlins, and one of them may have decided to piggyback me. I am relieved that they weren't from you, not that I really suspected that. A negvote from a doofus is okay with me, I'd rather be offending them than pleasing them ;)

apotheon
apotheon

My take on the discussion so far is that I've already said we should focus on protection rather than punishment, and take an ethical approach to dealing with criminals. You have suggested that allowing treatment of the guilty "inhumanely" might lead to a punishment focused, unethical approach to dealing with criminals. My point is simply "As long as we take a protection-focused approach that does not introduce unethicality as an endemic part of the system, we're good, and the inhumaneness of the treatment of the guilty is immaterial to that in particular." Basically, I'm assuming with my statements that whatever inhumane treatment might be going on, it is necessarily contained in a manner that prevents it from subverting the system. Once it escapes containment and subverts the focus and ethicality of the system, the system is no longer what I described (by definition). Based on what you're saying, it seems to me that you're thinking of the idea of inhumane treatment being inextricably tied to motivations. I'm thinking of it as separate. Is sealing someone in a concrete box with air holes, a faucet, a hole in the floor for a toilet, and a slot for food, with no way to even catch a glimpse of another human being for one's entire life, no door for anyone to enter and exit, inhumane? Perhaps. Is it unwarranted if it's the only way to keep the criminal in question from hurting another person? Seems like it. I wouldn't want to disallow serving the necessity of a protection-focused ethical system by establishing arbitrary rules against inhumane treatment of the provably -- and, in fact, proved -- inhuman. That's assuming 100% certainty in their guilt, however. edit: . . . and I see that someone doesn't like your answers for some as-yet unspecified reason. I mean, there's the guy who wants to punish the hell out of people -- but that guy's apparently not downvoting me, so I doubt that's where you're getting such rough, punishing treatment.

AnsuGisalas
AnsuGisalas

Law Enforcement has this tendency to lead to a caste of Enforcers. I know this is now getting pretty far into the implementation aspects. Let me just put it straight that I agree with your analysis, and we both agree that 100% certainty isn't common occurrence, so I'm not really disagreeing, only worrying about the potential effects of fringe occurrences. If inhumane treatment is allowed, or worse - stipulated, then there will need to be people to whom will be given the job of performing/enforcing the inhumane treatment. What will that mean to society in the long run? Can the corruption inherent in treating people badly (for whatever reason) be contained? Can it be kept from affecting how other people view each other? I also fear that if there is an aspect of revenge, there will also be a temptation for people involved in the crime processing system to "get that pig", hedging the processing due to their own certainty and a desire for vengeance, rather than due to the certainty of evidence.

apotheon
apotheon

What about what the TSA does is in any way ethical?

AnsuGisalas
AnsuGisalas

The TSA will serve as an example of what I fear.

apotheon
apotheon

. . . but in a purely ethical sense, I don't much care if you're inhumane to the unethical, so long as it's for the "right" reasons.

AnsuGisalas
AnsuGisalas

Well done, Sir! As for "humane"... well, I look to the fact that what we do to others affects us, too.

apotheon
apotheon

> Put them in as humane as possible a storage facility, there to live out their lives. I'm not so sure that making it humane is entirely necessary. It is only necessary to the extent that we are uncertain they are guilty of violating others' rights intentionally or through depraved indifference. In fact, if we could be 100% certain they were guilty, rapists and murderers might reasonably be executed as the surest means of preventing them from re-offending. I speak in theoretical terms, of course. In almost all cases, we cannot be 100% certain of guilt. I tell people all the time that I don't want to punish criminals. I want to protect the innocent. First and foremost, this means that we as a society must avoid doing anything permanent to people we are not sure are guilty of willfully or in depraved indifference violating others' rights; secondly, it means that we as a society should take the most effective approach we reasonably can to prevent such guilty parties from doing so again, now that they have proven they are a threat to others. There are at least two severe dangers of choosing to focus on punishing people: 1. We risk punishing the innocent, thus becoming violators of the rights of others through depraved indifference, ourselves. 2. We do not as effectively protect the innocent from those we prove guilty, because our focus is on punishment rather than protection. Choosing punishment -- that is, spite and vengeance -- over protection harms ourselves and innocent others, and it does not serve nearly as effectively to reduce incidence of criminal acts as one might think. Punishment, for the thinking person, is an admission that we have lost, and a futile lashing out at those who have wronged us. Of course, those who violate others' rights willfully or through depraved indifference may well deserve harsh punishment, but a system of jurisprudence should focus on the future, and not the past. There is no percentage in burning a village to save it.

JCitizen
JCitizen

our penal system is a travesty. They need to decriminalize drug use and force them to get help instead of putting them in jail. I don't have any sympathy for drug dealers, but if the government were selling the drugs legally, they would have the business ruined! HA! Of course they already are drug dealers with Methadone anyway. This would definitely end the border problems with our friends in Mexico too!

santeewelding
santeewelding

A logically positivist thing to say, other than to wonder out loud -- in front of God and everyone -- whether you occupy or not "a" or "the" pinnacle of sanity. Would seem that you think you do.

ThePickle
ThePickle

Yeah...if by "agenda" you mean "sanity", then yes...I definitely speak with an agenda. And I'm not the least bit sorry if I'm offending the less sane among us.

santeewelding
santeewelding

Pickle speaks with agenda up his sleeve. Not all that hard to guess, though.

JamesRL
JamesRL

...The posts where I mention that I favoured the guy with the cheap suit over the crappy shoes guy. The whole point, I point I made repeatedly and clearly in a number of posts was that it wasn't about fashion, it was about being prepared for the interview. The guy with the cheap suit was clearly making an effort, so no marks against him (or the suit). And in other posts in the thread I mentioned that I don't interview people that aren't qualified to do the job. Good interviewers, and my peers and HR here consider me one, are looking for other factors as well as verifying what is on the resume. I've never hired or failed to hire solely based on someone's attire. But I advise job seekers to make an effort, because first impressions count, and if someone has a difficult time choosing between two equally qualified candidates, you never know what might differentiate one candidate over another. Personally, when I've faced that kind of dilemma, I've had a second interview and introduced another factor; sometimes bringing in their prospective peers for their perspective, sometimes bringing in HR, sometimes devising a test. As I said in yet another post, not all positions are the same. If you are in a sales position, or even a position where you work with sales, then you are expected to dress well.

AnsuGisalas
AnsuGisalas

The evaluation of the price of a garment is empirical. It doesn't judge a person. Except, apparently in your eyes. There are people here who think that the negative votes are for whatever "facepalmbook" tricks they're used to pulling. They're not. Don't encourage them with your "understanding".

ThePickle
ThePickle

There's nothing for me to check. My facts were fine. You, on the other hand, are guilty of the very thing you accuse me of. The bottom line is he used the words "cheap suit" to describe an interview candidate. That's not in question. It's right there in black and white. So I'm not really sure why you're just nit-picking to try and make it seem like I'm fabricating things for some devious reasons. I assure you, I'm not. Whether or not Candidate #1 had the bad shoes or Candidate #2 did, that's irrelevant because I said I had no gripe with the shoes. My problem was with the "cheap suit" description. The entire post focused on the guy's "cheap suit", and made absolutely no mention of his qualifications for the job, or lack thereof. So I was simply telling him not to be surprised that he got negative votes, because it was very obvious as to why he did.

oldbaritone
oldbaritone

That's the entire point of the original blog!

AnsuGisalas
AnsuGisalas

So, A) you don't bother reading what was written, preferring to simply jump to conclusions that fit your prejudices. B) In writing a [b]rebuttal[/b] you don't even bother to check your facts, going forth to expose your lack of cover for your claims... You lack of preparation is a disgrace, and is disrespectful of your peers! Now, try and be more positive. Instead of looking for things to vote down, look for things to vote up. Did you know that the negative points you give out count toward your own points too? - Criticism and sniping comes with a cost. Just for the record, by the way, I've gone to interviews in bad shoes... my attention to detail is quite narrow, deep but narrow.

JamesRL
JamesRL

Candidate one - good suit, bad shoes, deduct marks for lack of preparation. Candidate two - cheap suit, but dressed neatly, clearly took care - didn't deduct marks for that. "I had one interview, where one applicant came in with a cheap suit. But it was clear he spent time looking the best he could. The next applicant came in with a decent suit, but crappy shoes." And we are talking a sub $100 suit, the kind they call party suits, cause people buy them for one wearing. It was too tight. It had shiny material. Like I said it was cheap, but he made an effort, so I favoured him above mister crappy shoes, who had a nicer suit.

AnsuGisalas
AnsuGisalas

I've got your number. As you'll notice if you glance to the right, I've got a bit of a buffer, so retaliate as you will, you're going down. And may I add, Mwahahahaaaaa!

JamesRL
JamesRL

First off, I repeatedly mentioned it wasn't about fashion, but about being prepared. And secondly, I don't consider my comment to Santee whining. Simply a comment. Last week I posted him I gave him a negative vote for an obnoxious post he made, in a discussion about automated negative votes. Put it in context. It was a piece of data.