LulzSec Members Admit Hacking, Plead Guilty & Not-Guilty

Ryan Cleary, 20, and Jake Davis, 19, were charged with launching DDoS cyber-attacks on government agencies and private companies in Britain and the U.S. between February and September 2011. The pair pleaded guilty to some of the hacking charges, but not all.

Jake Davis, of Lerwick, Shetland, and Ryan Cleary, of Wickford, Essex, admitted to hacking the CIA, the UK Serious Crime Agency, the Arizona Police Department, PBS, SONY and a slew of other websites. But there’s a twist: Cleary and Davis pleaded not guilty to other charges, like actually uploading the purloined data onto the LulzSec website.

The duo pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy for executing an “unauthorized act or acts with intent to impair, or with recklessness as to impairing, the operation of a computer or computers.” At the same time, they pleaded not guilty to “encouraging or assisting an offense,” which is in violation of section 45 of the 2007 Serious Crime Act, and “encouraging or assisting offenses,” which is contrary to section 46 of the same act. Additionally, Cleary confessed to four separate charges, including hacking U.S. Air Force computers, which were stationed at the Pentagon.

The U.S. government recently increased punishments for hacking due to the high-profile nature of the target, so Clearly will most likely be handed a harsh sentence; in essence he’ll likely be used as an “example” of what happens to hackers.

According to reports, Cleary and Davis allegedly operated under the LulzSec banner. Along with help from members of Anonymous and Internet Feds, the two hackers are responsible for DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks against various websites. The list of sites they attacked is extensive. Here are some of the DDoS targets the duo is believed to have illegally accessed:

  • 20th Century Fox
  • Arizona State Police
  • Bethesda
  • Eve Online
  • HBGary
  • HBGary Federal
  • Infragard
  • NHS
  • News International
  • Sony
  • Nintendo
  • PBS Inc
  • Westboro Baptist Church
  • … and more

Future of LulzSec and Hacking Outlaws

The public debate as to whether or not hackers are effective activists rages on. As such, groups like Anonymous, Internet Feds and LulzSec will continue to garner considerable attention – because many of their actions exposed questionable activity, of public interest, to the citizenry (e.g., mega-corps playing fast-and-loose with customers’ data, government footbullets, alien-based religions). As a result, many private citizens see them as vigilante heroes, whereas the government and big business would love to lock them all away forever.

How will the trial of Ryan Cleary and Jake Davis affect Anonymous and LulzSec? This remains to be seen, but if you’re interested in hacking law, this is surely a case to keep your eye on.

Law enforcement agencies and private corporations around the world will continue to use every legal means necessary to stop attacks on their computer networks and websites. So, the e-tango between big business/the government and rogue hacktivists will continue.

If you are a hacker in need of legal representation, contact us today to begin the conversation.

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