British police arrested a teenager based in Essex, England, who is accused breaching networks and launching distribute denial of service attacks around the world. He may or may not be a part of the LulzSec hacking group.
The 19 year old was arrested at his home in Wickford, Essex, on suspicion of breaching the Computer Misuse Act, police said June 21. Specialist officers seized his computer equipment, and a forensic examination is currently under way. He was taken to a central London police station and is being questioned.
The operation involved law enforcement officials from the local Essex police department, Metropolitan police central e-crime unit (PCeU) and the United States FBI.
“The arrest follows an investigation into network intrusions and DDoS attacks against a number of international business and intelligence agencies by what is believed to be the same hacking group,” the PCeU said in a statement.
The group of hackers known as LulzSec claimed responsibility for several of the recent high-profile attacks around the world, including the United Kingdom’s Serious Organized Crime Agency, a public network for the United States Senate, a Website belonging to the Central Intelligence Agency, Nintendo’s Website and multiple Sony services. The police believe the same group of hackers conducted all the attacks.
“The controversial LulzSec group has been playing a dangerous game – their Twitter account, which has more than 220,000 followers, has become increasingly vocal – embarrassing computer crime authorities and large organizations around the world with their attacks,” said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos.
Several British papers such as the Daily Mail and SkyNews have referred to the arrested suspect as the LulzSec “mastermind” but the police have not confirmed or denied that claim. The police statement only hints at the LulzSec connection, as well.
As for LulzSec, the group remained defiant on its Twitter feed. “Seems the glorious leader of LulzSec got arrested, it’s all over now… wait… we’re all still here! Which poor bastard did they take down?” said a post on Twitter this morning.
Everyone will now be looking at LulzSec’s Twitter feed, Cluley said. “Will it be a case of who lulz last, laughs longest?”
To go along with its cyber-pranks breaching Websites around the world, LulzSec announced June 20 it will team up with hacktivist collective Anonymous to wreak havoc on governments and giant corporations as part of Operation Anti-Security.
LulzSec Scorns Anti-Hacking
As part of a cyber-war against government and businesses, the goal was to “steal and leak” any classified information, including emails and documents “from banks and other high-ranking establishments,” LulzSec wrote in a manifesto posted on text-sharing site PasteBin. Participants were encouraged to deface Websites with the word “AntiSec.” If the group gets censored, the group said it will “obliterate” the censor.
“Stop fearing three-letter agencies, friends. They’re humans with slightly more paper and fancier uniforms; they are just like you and me,” LulzSec posted on Twitter on June 19.
LulzSec followed up on its earlier attack against InfraGard in Atlanta with another one on InfraGard in Connecticut and carried off information belonging to more than 1,000 FBI-affiliated members.
The group also knocked the United Kingdom’s Serious Organized Crime Agency’s Website offline with a distributed denial of service attack. SOCA took the site offline to limit the impact of the DDOS attack on other clients hosted by the third-party service provider, an agency official told BBC News. However, the attack was minimal as the site doesn’t contain any data from its investigations.
While there were claims that LulzSec had hacked and stolen the United Kingdom’s 2011 census, the group denied it. “That wasn’t us-don’t believe fake LulzSec releases unless we put out a tweet first,” the group said on Twitter.
“One had to wonder if all of this bragging could lead to the group’s downfall. It would, after all, be hard to keep a secret from friends and peers if you were a member of LulzSec,” Culely wrote on the NakedSecurity blog.
LulzSec’s Anti-Sec partner, Anonymous, is a loose federation of hackers that has launched distributed denial of service attacks against government Websites as well as major brand companies in the past to protest censorship. Anonymous launched the DDOS attacks against Sony, which coincided with the Sony data breach as unknown attackers compromised the PlayStation Network, Qriocity music and video service and Sony Online Entertainment.
LulzSec seems to be a spinoff from Anonymous, Imperva’s Rob Rachwald wrote on the Data Security blog on June 19. According to lead Web researcher Tal Be’ery, LulzSec may have been the faction of Anonymous that hacked HBGary Federal in February and Gawker late last year. LulzSec may have decided to create its own “gig” to be independent, Be’ery said.
LulzSec attacks services and Websites “just because we find it entertaining. You find it funny to watch havoc unfold, and we find it funny to cause it. We release personal data so that equally evil people can entertain us with what they do with it,” LulzSec said.