LulzSec Hackers Plead Guilty to Cyber-Attack Charges in U.K.
Two reputed members of the hacking group Lulz Security (LulzSec) pleaded guilty in the United Kingdom today to charges related to Website attacks in the U.K. and in other countries, according to reports.
Ryan Cleary, 20, and Jake Davis, 19, admitted to conspiring with other members of LulzSec to hack a number of Websites in 2011, including Sony Pictures, HBGary, Britain's National Health Service and Nintendo. Cleary pleaded guilty to a total of six charges out of eight, and Davis to two out of four.
Formed in May 2011, LulzSec has been tied by authorities in the United States and the United Kingdom to attacks on a number of targets, ranging from sites belonging to Irish political party Fine Gael to the Fox Broadcasting company.
As part of his plea, Cleary admitted involvement in hacking into U.S. Air Force computers based at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. However according to the newspaper The Guardian, both Cleary and Davis denied allegations they posted "unlawfully obtained confidential computer data" to public Websites, including LulzSec, Pirate Bay and PasteBin, in order to encourage offenses contrary to the Serious Crime Act.
Earlier this month, a grand jury in California indicted Cleary on hacking charges as well, though it remains to be seen if he will be extradited. Cleary faces a U.S. federal indictment in relation to his cyber-attacks, but his attorney has said she would "fiercely contest" any moves to extradite her client to the U.S. A spokesperson for the U.S. embassy in the United Kingdom told a member of the media June 15 that the United States was not making an extradition request at this time.
The indictment of Cleary in the United States followed charges being brought earlier this year against six people involved in several attacks. Among those charged was "Sabu," also known as Xavier Monsegur of New York City, who was also revealed to have been working as a government informant after secretly pleading guilty last August to his involvement in attacks on HBGary and HBGary Federal as well as Sony, Fox, the Public Broadcasting Service and Infragard Members Alliance.
Two others, Ryan Ackroyd, 26, and a 17-year-old male from London, were also charged in the case in the United Kingdom. They are scheduled to stand trial next year.