Wednesday, June 22, 2011

UK police make arrest in hacking attacks

By CASSANDRA VINOGRAD, Associated Press June 21, 2011

LONDON – A 19-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of involvement
with cyber attacks on Sony and the CIA website, British police said

The arrest took place following a joint operation by its Internet crimes
unit and the FBI, the Metropolitan Police said. The FBI declined to

British police would not say if the suspect was tied to the Lulz Security
hacking collective, which has claimed responsibility for recent
high-profile attacks, but confirmed that a computer seized in the
operation will be examined for Sony data. Police declined to identify the
suspect because he has not been charged with a crime.

Lulz had boasted of successfully hacking Sony in addition to subsequent
attacks on the CIA web page and the U.S. Senate computer system. The
hackers recently called for "war" on governments that control the

Lulz appeared dismissive of the arrest, saying on Twitter that it used the
arrested man's server, but that the man is not part of the group.

"Clearly the U.K. police are so desperate to catch us that they've gone
and arrested someone who is, at best, mildly associated with us," it

Although little is known about Lulz, hacker collectives are typically
loose networks with diffuse supporters in more than one location, so an
arrest could do little to bring down an organization and even encourage
supporters to carry on a group's cause.

The teenager was arrested in the commuter town of Wickford, about 35 miles
(55 kilometers) northeast of London, late Monday on suspicion of hacking
and fraud offenses and taken to a central London police station for
questioning, police said.

Police said the arrest resulted from an investigation into network
intrusions and distributed denial-of-service attacks against "a number of
international business and intelligence agencies by what is believed to be
the same hacking group."

Officers are conducting forensic examinations on "a significant amount of
material" found in the search of a home following the arrest.

Lulz has taken credit for hacking into Sony Corp. — where more than 100
million user accounts were compromised — and defacing the PBS website
after the U.S. public television station aired a documentary seen as
critical of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. The hackers also say they
are responsible for attacks on the CIA website and the U.S. Senate
computer system.

Most recently, Lulz said it had compromised the security of more than
1,000 accounts of an FBI partner organization and brought down the website
of Britain's FBI equivalent, the Serious Organized Crime Agency.

The group has taken to taunting victims of its attacks on Twitter using
the handle "LulzSec."

On Monday, Lulz Security issued a statement calling for a united hacker
effort against governments and organizations that control the Internet.

The group said it was teaming with fellow hacker collective Anonymous, and
encouraged others to fight corruption and attack any government or agency
that "crosses their path" including banks and other "high-ranking

Anonymous is a group of online activists that has claimed responsibility
for attacking companies online such as Visa, MasterCard and PayPal over
their severing of ties with WikiLeaks following that group's release of
troves of sensitive documents. Anonymous also led a campaign against the
Church of Scientology.


Associated Press writer Meera Selva contributed to this report

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