Attacks/Breaches
4/10/2013
08:37 AM
50%
50%

LulzSec Hackers Plead Guilty To CIA, Sony Attacks

Three men admit in London courtroom they launched distributed denial of service attacks and defacements that targeted a variety of websites.

Anonymous: 10 Things We Have Learned In 2013
Anonymous: 10 Things We Have Learned In 2013
(click image for larger view and for slideshow)
Three members of LulzSec pleaded guilty Tuesday in a London courtroom to waging a seven-month hacking campaign in 2011.

Defendant Ryan Ackroyd (aka Kayla), 26, pleaded guilty to one charge of carrying out an unauthorized act to impair the operation of a computer, relating to attacks launched between February and September 2011 against numerous websites, including the Arizona State Police and 20th Century Fox.

Separately, Jake Davis (aka topiary, atopiary), 20, and Mustafa al-Bassam (aka "Tflow"), 18, pleaded guilty Tuesday to launching attacks against the CIA, both Britain's Serious Organized Crime Agency (SOCA) and National Health Service (NHS), as well as News International, 20th Century Fox and Sony Pictures Entertainment.

[ Anonymous seems to still be active. Read Anonymous Claims 100,000 Israel Site Disruptions. ]

All had been arrested in the course of a trans-Atlantic investigation conducted by the FBI and Scotland Yard into the hacktivist groups LulzSec and Anonymous. A separate U.S. indictment had charged Ackroyd and Davis with having participated in attacks against the Atlanta chapter of Infragard, Nintendo, the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) and Westboro Baptist church.

Prosecutors said Ackroyd was the brains and botnet aficionado behind the LulzSec operations. Notably, Ackroyd's botnet, which tapped infected -- or zombie -- PCs, was used to launch distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks against many of the targets.

"He was the hacker, so to speak, they turned to him for his expertise as a hacker," prosecutor Sandip Patel told the court, reported the Guardian. She also said that Ackroyd had admitted to using the online persona known as "Kayla," claiming to be a 16-year-old girl.

Tuesday marked the first time that Mustafa al-Bassam, a student who turned 18 in January, was named in court. He's the youngest known LulzSec participant to have been charged.

All three men, together with Ryan Cleary (aka "ryan," "Herschel.mcdoogenstein," "anakin," "ni," "vial" and "x"), who previously pleaded guilty to related charges, are due to be sentenced on May 14.

LulzSec, or Lulz Security, which spun off from the Anonymous collective in 2011, espoused a lulz -- or "for the laughs" -- mentality. Backed by witty press pronouncements and putdowns authored by Davis, the hacktivist group engaged in a 50-day hacking, data breach and defacement spree before unexpectedly announcing its retirement.

The reason for the sudden stop to LulzSec operations came to light later, when court documents revealed that group leader "Sabu" had been busted by the FBI in June 2011 and immediately turned informant. Hector Xavier Monsegur, 29, aka Sabu, has been helping the bureau amass intelligence on LulzSec and Anonymous operators, as well as block planned and unfolding attacks.

Monsegur has yet to be sentenced by U.S. authorities, with his sentencing hearing having most recently having been delayed to August 2013 "in light of the defendant's ongoing co-operation with the government," according to court documents.

Cleary and Davis appeared in London court last year, at which time they were then scheduled to stand trial -- together with Ackroyd and Bassam, who hadn't yet been named -- this week.

Since Tuesday's court hearing, everyone who's been charged by British police with crimes related to LulzSec or the original incarnation of Anonymous has now pleaded guilty. But related prosecutions are still continuing in the United States, with authorities most recently having charged Reuters journalist Matthew Keys, 26, with helping Anonymous hack into the computers of Tribune Co. In addition, Cleary was indicted last year by a U.S. federal grand jury and could face extradition to the United States, although U.S. prosecutors haven't publicly stated that they plan to seek his extradition.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Threaded  |  Newest First  |  Oldest First
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Write a Caption, Win a Starbucks Card! Click Here
Latest Comment: This is a secure windows pc.
Current Issue
Security Operations and IT Operations: Finding the Path to Collaboration
A wide gulf has emerged between SOC and NOC teams that's keeping both of them from assuring the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of IT systems. Here's how experts think it should be bridged.
Flash Poll
New Best Practices for Secure App Development
New Best Practices for Secure App Development
The transition from DevOps to SecDevOps is combining with the move toward cloud computing to create new challenges - and new opportunities - for the information security team. Download this report, to learn about the new best practices for secure application development.
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2017-0290
Published: 2017-05-09
NScript in mpengine in Microsoft Malware Protection Engine with Engine Version before 1.1.13704.0, as used in Windows Defender and other products, allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary code or cause a denial of service (type confusion and application crash) via crafted JavaScript code within ...

CVE-2016-10369
Published: 2017-05-08
unixsocket.c in lxterminal through 0.3.0 insecurely uses /tmp for a socket file, allowing a local user to cause a denial of service (preventing terminal launch), or possibly have other impact (bypassing terminal access control).

CVE-2016-8202
Published: 2017-05-08
A privilege escalation vulnerability in Brocade Fibre Channel SAN products running Brocade Fabric OS (FOS) releases earlier than v7.4.1d and v8.0.1b could allow an authenticated attacker to elevate the privileges of user accounts accessing the system via command line interface. With affected version...

CVE-2016-8209
Published: 2017-05-08
Improper checks for unusual or exceptional conditions in Brocade NetIron 05.8.00 and later releases up to and including 06.1.00, when the Management Module is continuously scanned on port 22, may allow attackers to cause a denial of service (crash and reload) of the management module.

CVE-2017-0890
Published: 2017-05-08
Nextcloud Server before 11.0.3 is vulnerable to an inadequate escaping leading to a XSS vulnerability in the search module. To be exploitable a user has to write or paste malicious content into the search dialogue.

Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
In past years, security researchers have discovered ways to hack cars, medical devices, automated teller machines, and many other targets. Dark Reading Executive Editor Kelly Jackson Higgins hosts researcher Samy Kamkar and Levi Gundert, vice president of threat intelligence at Recorded Future, to discuss some of 2016's most unusual and creative hacks by white hats, and what these new vulnerabilities might mean for the coming year.