POLICE IN ESSEX have arrested a 19-year-old male in connection with the hacking of major websites including those of the CIA and the US Senate.
The man, named by AFP as Ryan Cleary, was detained yesterday after a month-long search by law enforcement agencies seeking to break up the Lulz Security (‘LulzSec’) group, which has claimed responsibility for the sustained attacks.
The hacker group itself has played down the arrest, tweeting suggestions that Cleary is not actually a part to the group.
“Clearly the UK police are so desperate to catch us that they’ve gone and arrested someone who is, at best, mildly associated with us. Lame”, it said in one message.
The group said its only connection with Cleary was that it used one of his web servers to host a chatroom – and that Cleary was one of many people to offer similar services on an arm’s-length basis.
The Independent said Cleary’s details had been published online last month by hackers affiliated to the rival collective Anonymous, as an apparent retribution for a failed attack on its own chatrooms.
In a statement of its own, Scotland Yard said the arrest had followed a lengthy investigation into Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks on a number of international targets, though it declined to identify which sites it referred to.
Within the last fortnight the websites of the US Senate, the CIA, Nintendo, Sega, Sony and the UK’s Serious Organised Crime Agency have all been attacked, with LulzSec claiming responsibility for each of the successful security breaches.
Another claimed attack on the UK’s census database, which had been incorrectly attributed to LulzSec, was later discovered to be a hoax.