Two members of notorious hacking group LulzSec pled guilty today to conspiring to attack a list of companies and organizations ranging from the CIA to Sony and Nintendo.
The trial, which is taking place in a London crown court, examines the roles that several British men played in the LulzSec hacks last year. The defendents, which includes Ryan Cleary (twenty) and Jake Davis (nineteen), are accused of assisting the hacks against major corporations such as News International, Nintendo, the UK’s National Health Service, and the Arizona Police Department. The others that were indicted by the court, Ryan Ackroyd (twenty-six) and a legally unidentifiable minor (seventeen) known by his Internet handle “T-flow,” have pled not guilty to the same counts.
Cleary and Davis did, however, have pleaded not guilty to two separate counts relating to encouraging and assisting an offence under the terms of the UK’s Serious Crime Act 2007’s sections 45 and 46.
Although Cleary was not one of the seven (later six) core members of the group, he did operate the chatroom used by LulzSec during their notorious hacking spree last year.
A federal grand jury in the U.S. indicted Cleary on similar counts, but no concrete plans for extradition have been made known. The UK trial date is set for next April.
Analysis: These individuals are absolutely, utterly, and without question screwed. They’re probably not Bradley Manning-level screwed, especially if they aren’t extradited to the U.S., but they committed the immortal sin: they messed with government secrets, and once you do that, you’re done for.
Other than that, this story is pretty straightforward. These men committed criminal acts against a range of high-profile targets and are getting punished for it. I’m sort of interested to see what happens with the minor who was indicted, considering he was sixteen years old at the time of his arrest, but other than that, I think it’s pretty straight going from here. I predict that those who pled not guilty will be found guilty during the trial next April, and then I predict that these men and their counterparts in several other countries are sent to jail for a long time.