The identity of the man arrested in the U.K. last night in an antihacking sting has reportedly been revealed.
According to the BBC, citing locals in Essex and the man's mother, 19-year-old Ryan Cleary was arrested by police last night. The Guardian also has given Ryan Cleary as the name of the person arrested. So far, however, the U.K.'s Metropolitan Police and the FBI, which was also involved in the operation, have not divulged any name.
The arrest--"on suspicion of Computer Misuse Act, and Fraud Act offences"--stemmed from an investigation into denial-of-service attacks and network intrusions targeting "a number of international business and intelligence agencies by what is believed to be the same hacking group," the Metropolitan Police said. Speculation has been widespread that the hacking group in question is LulzSec, which has become notorious in recent weeks for a spate of online pranks and attacks against PBS, Sony, the CIA, the U.S. Senate, and others.
LulzSec was spun off from the more politically motivated "hactivist" organization Anonymous, sources have told CNET.
And it turns out that a person identified as Ryan Cleary may have a history with Anonymous. Last month, Anonymous reportedly announced on its Web site that its main IRC (Internet relay chat) network was taken down by a former IRC operator named Ryan through the use of denial-of-service attacks.
"We regret to inform you today that our network has been compromised by a former IRC-operator and fellow helper named 'Ryan,'" the group wrote at the time, according to Ars Technica. "He decided that he didn't like the leaderless command structure that AnonOps Network Admins use. So he organized a coup d'etat, with his 'friends' at skidsr.us."
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Following that attack, information purporting to belong to "Ryan" was exposed on Pastebin by Anonymous, including the full name Ryan Cleary, along with contact information that claimed he was from Essex in the U.K. The leaked documents also pegged his age at "18-19."
No one, including Cleary or any members of Anonymous, has confirmed that the man arrested today and the person who was allegedly responsible for attacks on Anonymous, are the same.
There are also reports that Cleary was involved with LulzSec. However, a source familiar with the groups disputed the validity of the claim to CNET today.
LulzSec did likewise, saying on its Twitter account today that "Cleary is not a part of LulzSec." The group did say, however, that it has "one of our many legitimate chat rooms on his IRC server, but that's it."
"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," LulzSec tweeted today.
Following the announcement of the arrest by the U.K.'s Metropolitan Police, Sky News reported that the man arrested was "a mastermind" behind LulzSec. The organization, however, continued to post tweets on its official Twitter page, and said that "all" of its members were still in operation.
"Seems the glorious leader of LulzSec got arrested," the group wrote on its Twitter account. "It all over now. Wait, we're all still here! Which poor bastard did they take down?"
From CNET sister site ZDNet:
LulzSec: Is it too cocky for its own good?
Suspected LulzSec player arrested, in custody in London