U.K. Announces Arrest of LulzSec Hacker, Anonymous Collective Boycotts PayPal in Retaliation

This morning, U.K. Metropolitan police released a statement announcing the arrest of nineteen-year-old "Topiary," who they say was the spokesman for the Lulz Security (LulzSec) hacking collective known for disrupting Sony, Fox News, and U.S Public Broadcasting.

LulzSec, an outgrowth of the hacker collective Anonymous that was busted July 19 for "denial-of-service" attacks, gained notoriety attacking Fox News and the U.S Public Broadcasting Service. 

Topiary is the latest hacker casualty in a slew of recent arrests by law enforcement in Britain and the United States. Last week, the FBI, British and Dutch officials executed 21 arrests, many of which the Associated Press says were related to the group's attacks on the Internet payment provider PayPal Inc., targeted for it refusal to accept payments to WikiLeaks.

According to the U.K. statement, police are also searching a residence in Lincolnshire, where a seventeen-year-old male is being interviewed "in connection with with the inquiry." Police say he has not been arrested - yet. 

Today’s operation is linked to PCeU’s ongoing investigation into network intrusions and Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks against a number of international business and intelligence agencies by what is believed to be the same hacking group.

It was carried out with the assistance of the Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency (SCDEA) and Lincolnshire Constabulary.

Hackers, however, will not be silenced. In a response to the raids, Anonymous posted on its Twitter a call to boycott PayPal: "We encourage anyone using PayPal to immediately close their accounts and consider an alternative."

According to the AP, Topiary had ties to both groups as an "on-again, off-again" media liaison. Topiary is best known for his one and only television interview on the "David Pakman Show" earlier this year. Via Skype, Topiary feuded with Shirley Phelps-Roper of the radical Westboro Baptist Church, notorious themselves for protesting the funerals of American soldiers. Over the course of the interview, Anonymous hacked the church's website. 

AP also says Topiary controlled LulzSec's Twitter feed, which attracted 300,000 followers during its six-week Internet takeover. Says AP:

One its most spectacular hacks was against Sony Pictures Entertainment. The group posted the usernames, passwords, email addresses and phone numbers of tens of thousands of people, many of whom had given Sony their information for sweepstakes draws. Another stinging series of breaches last month targeted Arizona's police force in protest against its contentious immigration law. Officers had to scramble to change their numbers because their phones were being jammed with calls.

Shortly thereafter the group abruptly announced it was disbanding, although Topiary said at the time that the group wasn't bowing to police pressure.

"We're not quitting because we're afraid of law enforcement," he said in a Skype call. "The press are getting bored of us, and we're getting bored of us."

Topiary's Twitter feed said Wednesday, "You cannot arrest an idea."

AlterNet / By Kristen Gwynne

Posted at July 27, 2011, 9:48am

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