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Police Arrest Alleged LulzSec Leader -- But Do They Have The Right Man?

London police say they nabbed 'Topiary,' but others say they were duped

Police in the UK Wednesday celebrated the arrest of the man they suspect is "Topiary," one of the leaders of the LulzSec hacker group. But subequent reports suggest they may have grabbed the wrong man.

According to news reports, The London Metropolitan police's e-crime unit said they have arrested a teenage man who used the online nickname Topiary, the alias of the group's main spokesman.

It was the first arrest linked to LulzSec -- and the broader hacking collective Anonymous -- in which the police have immediately identified the online identity of the suspect arrested, the reports said.

The arrest of Topiary is the third made in the UK in the search for members of the group, following that of Ryan Cleary, in Essex, in June, and the arrest and release in London last week of a 16-year-old known online as Tflow. The apparent ringleader of the group, known online as Sabu, remains at large.

According to the reports, "Topiary" was arrested in the Shetland Islands off Scotland and on Wednesday was being transported to London. The main Twitter account connected to LulzSec, which has more than 340,000 followers and which Topiary is alleged to control, fell silent shortly before midday on Wednesday, the reports said. Topiary's own twitter feed, @atopiary, was wiped clear on Friday, save for one tweet reading: "You cannot arrest an idea."

But a subsequent news report suggests that the Metro police were duped into arresting the wrong man.

"This open and shut case might not be so open and shut," the report said. "Last month the blog site LulzSecurityExposed supposedly 'doxed' [published the real world identity of] Topiary. They claim he's changed names more times than Prince -- and their accounting puts him nowhere near Scotland."

The police are holding the suspect for questioning.

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Tim Wilson is Editor in Chief and co-founder of Dark Reading.com, UBM Tech's online community for information security professionals. He is responsible for managing the site, assigning and editing content, and writing breaking news stories. Wilson has been recognized as one ... View Full Bio

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