Lulz Security, a hacking group that stole data from law enforcement, defaced the websites of major publications and published troves of user names and passwords from online services, has suffered a critical blow at the hands of law enforcement.
Agents across two continents arrested two of LulzSec‘s alleged top hackers on Tuesday morning, along with a member of the larger hacking collective Anonymous. Law enforcement also slapped new charges on two LulzSec members who were already behind bars, Fox News reports.
(MORE: ‘We Do It for the Lulz’: What Makes LulzSec Tick?)
In a story that sounds like movie fodder, LulzSec’s informal leader reportedly turned against his former hacking buddies, secretly helping the FBI in the months leading up to the arrests.
The group’s alleged leader is Hector Xavier Monsegur, an unemployed 28-year-old father of two who used the alias “Sabu.” The FBI reportedly arrested him last June, and he pleaded guilty in August to a dozen hacking-related charges. Monsegur then started working with the FBI to bring down the rest of LulzSec’s top-ranking hackers.
Details on the arrests aren’t official yet, but Fox News apparently spoke with FBI agents for its story. “This is devastating to the organization,” one FBI official involved with the investigation said. “We’re chopping off the head of LulzSec.”
More details should become available later on Tuesday, when court documents — including Monsegur’s admissions — are expected to be unsealed in New York’s Southern District Court. A conspiracy indictment will reportedly name the five LulzSec members facing charges: Ryan Ackroyd, a.k.a. “Kayla,” and Jake Davis, a.k.a. “Topiary,” of London; Darren Martyn, a.k.a. “pwnsauce,” and Donncha O’Cearrbhail, a.k.a. “palladium,” of Ireland; and Jeremy Hammond, a.k.a. “Anarchaos,” of Chicago.
Fox News’ law-enforcement sources described Hammond as a member of Anonymous who is being charged in a separate indictment. He is allegedly the main person behind Anonymous’ hacking of security think tank Stratfor in December.
LulzSec began making a name for itself last May, with attacks on Fox.com and PBS.com. The group then hacked Sony Pictures’ servers and made off with user names, passwords, addresses and dates of birth. Other high-profile hacks included a breach against Arizona law enforcement and a takedown of popular gaming services such as Eve Online and Minecraft.
However, the group announced last June that it was disbanding in the face of pressure from law enforcement and other hackers. At the time, little did we know that LulzSec’s alleged leader had been arrested. For the rest of the group, it was already too late.
Update: The indictment for the alleged LulzSec members, minus Hammond, is now online. Fox also has more details on how the feds arrested Monsegur.