4 Former LulzSec Members Sentenced To Prison Time In The UK

It’s been a while since we’ve talked about any hacking related arrests, or in this case, imprisonments. In this case, it’s some ‘ex’ members of LulzSec, for the attacks they perpetrated in 2011. The longest of the sentences being 32 months, almost 3 years for the guy that operated and managed the botnet used in...

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New Hacker Groups Take Up the Anonymous Banner

Did you imagine that the recent arrests of LulzSec members would put a dent in their activities? It seems not, as two new groups have already taken action.

We should keep in mind that some of the online actions by Anonymous can be seen as beneficial. Two of their targets have included the pornography industry and viewers of child pornography. Anonymous has led these operations in earnest or “for the lulz” (for laughs):

  • The Pron.com website attack: Usernames and passwords of about 26,000 users were exposed in June 2011 “for the lulz” by the Lulz Security Team
  • Operation Darknet: A doxing campaign (exposing those responsible) in October 2011 against Lolita City, a child pornography sharing website that was accessible anonymously via The Tor Project’s encrypted service. Anonymous also claimed to have shut down at least 40 websites hosting  child-abuse materials.
  • Operation SafeKids: For 10 months, an Anonymous branch has asked Facebook users to participate in identifying and reporting profiles and pages containing or promoting child pornography

Recently two more groups appeared in this arena, with both showing sympathy with Anonymous’ goals.

The first is Th3 Consortium. This group hacked the DigitalPlayground porn server and stole 72,960 client passwords and email address (82 of which had a .gov or .mil domain), as well as data (including CCVs, names and expiration dates) from 40,000 credit cards. For a limited time, they also offered about fifty pornographic movies for free.

The second group is LulzFinancial. It took on a Dutch pedophile-friendly website and released names and personal information belonging its users.

Created in February, the LulzFinancial blogs have been silent for three weeks. For now, LulzFinancial communicates just via Twitter. Besides the pedophile website attack, the group is credited with some other hacks, including one on the Syrian Ministry of Presidential Affairs.

The first tweet posted by Th3 Consortium is dated February 22. The group is apparently not, as has been asserted elsewhere, responsible for the previous hacks on two websites owned by Manwin, an adult entertainment company based in Luxembourg. According to the Associated Press, the first site, Brazzers, was hacked by a 17 year-old Moroccan. And according to the ESET blog, YouPorn was just the victim of an error made by a careless programmer.

We don’t know how long these groups with goals similar to some of Anonymous’ aims will last. But they may indicate that, in spite of the recent arrests made by Interpol and the FBI, the descendents of AntiSec and LulzSec live on.

Former LulzSec Leader Sabu Flips Sides & Informs For The FBI

This is pretty epic, the big buzz last week was all about Sabu and how he was a traitor to LulzSec and Anonymous. Now most people think things like these only happen in the movies, secret arrests followed by strong-arm tactics to make the perp turn and be an informant for the feds. Sounds like [...]

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Will LulzSec ‘Takedowns’ Put an End to Hacktivism?

The news is circulating of the recent arrests of many of LulzSec’s members. From the Fox News site:

“Law enforcement agents on two continents swooped in on top members of the infamous computer hacking group LulzSec early this morning, and acting largely on evidence gathered by the organization’s brazen leader–who sources say has been secretly working for the government for months–arrested three and charged two more with conspiracy.”

This is quite an interesting development. Most likely we will be left with far more questions than answers as more information is revealed. It seems authorities are acting largely on information gathered by the LulzSec’s “leader,” whose handle is Sabu, and who is said to have been secretly working for the government for months.

Leader? Hmm. We will come back to that. …

The Hacker News also has a very good write-up on the events and also has a full dox on Sabu. What do these arrests mean? Is this an end to LulzSec? Is this an end to Anonymous? Is this an end to hacktivism?

If you read the FBI quotes in the article it would certainly seem so: “This is devastating to the organization,” said an FBI official involved with the investigation. “We’re chopping off the head of LulzSec.” I tend to disagree, but don’t get me wrong. Taking down criminals and criminal organizations is almost always a good thing, but when dealing with hacktivism it is not that simple.

Hacktivism, remember, is the use of computers and computer networks as a means of protest to promote political ends. I disagree with many of the operations that both LulzSec and Anonymous have engaged in because I question how doxing, denial of service, and data theft can lead to positive political change. But that is not really the point.

The big question of what this means to LulzSec and Anonymous specifically and to hacktivism overall remains. If one understands the true nature of Anonymous, LulzSec and, to a greater extent, hacktivism, then it’s clear this will not have the desired outcome. Anonymous and LulzSec have no leaders. There is no command structure in any real sense of the word. Anyone can be Anonymous. That is kinda the point. Though it’s hard to say definitely at this point, it will most likely be akin to taking down any one botnet or cybercriminal: Others will rise to take their place. In the case of hacktivism, it will probably inspire more activity and retaliatory attacks.

Several hours after the LulzSec arrests, Anonymous had this to say on some websites they defaced: “Anonymous existed before LulzSec and will continue existing.”

Stay vigilant and expect them.