LulzSec Hacker Facing Justice
LulzSec and Anonymous are making headlines all over the world. They have been behind nearly every major hack attack in the last several months. They have targeted individuals, businesses, governments, and nearly every level in between. Luckily, no money has been stolen and no permanent damage has been done, but several sites have been taken down for extended periods of time. General Keith Alexander of the National Security Agency states that he believes Anonymous will be able to hack into the power grids soon and control electricity. This sets a dangerous precedent and we should all find a way to protect ourselves.
Another member of LulzSec has been brought to justice today. According to prosecutors, the alleged LulzSec hacker had his sights set on the Fox and PBS television networks, in addition to the television and film studios owned by Sony.
20 year old Ryan Cleary is also facing criminal charges in the United Kingdom for similar charges. Cleary has been accused of association with other members of LulzSec who harnessed compromised computers, otherwise known as a “botnet.” When using a botnet, hackers can stop websites from working properly, steal confidential information, or do other harmful and illegal acts. Cleary was indicted on Tuesday.
LulzSec is a hacker group that originated as an offshoot from the larger hacker group Anonymous. Hackers can become members of either group or both groups. And like Anonymous, LulzSec has taken credit for hack attacks on individuals, corporations, and government websites.
Anonymous and its offshoots, including LulzSec and AntiSec, began their activities as a way to protest legislation that is meant to stop the illegal download of free copyrighted materials, such as music and movies. However, their more recent activity has also shown that they want to be more influential on the global scale, attacking the sites of various religions and the global banking system.
The charges come just over two months after accused LulzSec hacker Cody Kretsinger pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles in April to taking part in an extensive computer breach of Sony Pictures Entertainment.
In March, court documents revealed that Anonymous leader “Sabu,” whose real name is Hector Xavier Monsegur, had pleaded guilty to hacking-related charges and provided the FBI with information on fellow hackers.
According to the indictment released by the FBI, Cleary and his unnamed co-conspirators hacked into the computer systems of Fox Entertainment Group and Sony Pictures Entertainment and stole confidential user information.
The indictment also charges Cleary and his co-conspirators of defacing the PBS website and launching “denial of service” attacks against an online gaming website and Britain’s Serious Organized Crime Agency.
Cleary is charged with one count of conspiracy and two counts of unauthorized impairment of a protected computer. He faces a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison if convicted at trial.
Anonymous, and LulzSec in particular, became notorious in late 2010 when they launched what they called the “first cyber war” in retaliation for attempts to shut down the WikiLeaks website.
They attacked websites including MasterCard.com, which had tried to block payments to WikiLeaks after apparent pressure from the U.S. government following the release of thousands of diplomatic cables.