The FBI this weekend raided the homes of the two online vandals known as the Deceptive Duo and confiscated their computers, according to a friend of the teens.
The Duo -- Robert Lyttle, known online as Pimpshiz, and The-Rev -- defaced numerous government and private industry Web sites over the past few weeks in a spree that they claimed was driven by patriotism.
Kelly Hallissey, a friend of the pair, said the two hackers truly believed that they were helping point out problems in the nations security infrastructure and said she was worried that they would be made examples of by the government.
"I want to prevent them from being railroaded with the USA PATRIOT Act," said Hallissey, who also runs the Observers.net watchdog site, which tracks the corporate machinations of AOL Time Warner Inc.s America Online unit. "This is their way of trying to do something patriotic."
The Duo defaced sites belonging to, among others, the Department of Defense, Sandia National Laboratories, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and several banks.
Neither Lyttle nor The-Rev are new to the Web-defacement scene. Lyttle, 18, defaced dozens of sites in 2000 in a protest of the court-ordered shutdown of the Napster file-swapping service. He was eventually arrested for those attacks.
The-Rev, whom Hallissey says is a 20-year-old Floridian, used to be a member of a defacement group known as the Sm0ked Crew, which defaced sites belonging to several high-profile technology companies last year.
She dismissed speculation in the hacker and security communities that the Deceptive Duo were simply looking for publicity.
"If they had put their own handles on the defacements, they would have jumped into the press overnight," she said.
Hallissey said Lyttle appeared in court today near his home in Pleasant Hills, Calif., on a charge of probation violation, but added that she didnt think he had been charged for the most recent set of defacements yet.
An FBI spokesman said that although search warrants had been executed on the two suspects homes, no charges have been filed at this point.