Alleged LulzSec leaders arrested
Yesterday (Tuesday), a concerted operation by international investigators resulted in the arrest of alleged leading members of the LulzSec hacker group. According to a complaint filed in New York, the authorities have arrested two UK citizens, two Irishmen and one American citizen. "We're chopping off the head of LulzSec" said an FBI official involved with the investigation.
Last year, LulzSec made the news by hacking the web sites of FBI affiliate InfraGard and of the US Senate, and by intruding into the corporate servers of Nintendo, Sega and Sony. US broadcasting companies Fox News and PBS (Public Broadcasting System) were also compromised.
The news doesn't come as a complete surprise: in a teleconference that was made public by hackers in early February, UK and US investigators had discussed imminent arrests in connection with LulzSec. The indictment states that the FBI had prior knowledge of this "leak". LulzSec officially disbanded in June 2011 after the group had attracted more and more criticism. Since June 2011, a number of hackers who have been accused of taking part in LulzSec operations have been arrested around the world.
Fox News named New York resident Hector Xavier Monsegur, also known as "Sabu", as the group leader. According to the article, the FBI had already unmasked the hacker in June 2011. The FBI report states that Monsegur had admitted to being part of LulzSec's operations last August when he pled guilty to 12 counts of "computer hacking conspiracies" in US District Court. Monsegur then began to cooperate with the investigators.
A document that surfaced in July 2011 seemed to confirm Monsegur's identity when a group called "A-Team" released a list that contained the alleged identities of LulzSec contributors that included a similar name ("Hector Xavier Montsegur").
The five LulzSec members arrested on Tuesday went by the names of "Anarchaos" (Jeremy Hammond), "Kayla" (Ryan Ackroyd), "Topiary" (Jake Davies), "Palladium" (Donncha O'Cearrbhail) and "Pwnsauce" (Darren Martyn). "Topiary" was arrested in summer 2011, but was later released. The FBI thinks that "Anarchaos" was behind last December's extensive intrusion into intelligence company Stratfor that recently led to millions of confidential emails being published on WikiLeaks.
According to a report from Forbes, subsequent to the arrests, Anonymous has responded by attacking the web site of security company Panda Security and defacing the site by posting its views. It claimed that Panda Security had collaborated with authorities in the operation that led to last month's arrest of 25 alleged members of Anonymous. The group also took the opportunity to criticise Monsegur in the defacement, attacking him for having betrayed his friends and the Anonymous "family".