Lulzsec hackers plead guilty to online attacks

Two members of Lulzsec accused of online attacks against the Sun, the Pentagon and the NHS have pleaded guilty to hacking charges.

Two members of hacking collective Lulzsec have admitted their involvement in online attacks against various websites last year, today pleading guilty to hacking charges.

Ryan Cleary, 19, and Jake Davis, 18, pleaded guilty in London today to two counts of conspiracy to do an unauthorised act or acts with intent to impair, or with recklessness as to impairing, the operation of a computer or computers. Cleary also confessed to four separate charges, including hacking US Air Force computers at the Pentagon.

The pair, however, denied separate accusations they may have incited others to commit offences.

Cleary and Davis appeared in court alongside Ryan Ackroyd, 25, and an unnamed 17-year-old boy, who both deny the hacking charges. All have been released on bail, except Cleary. Despite the attacks on the Pentagon and other US agencies, the US is not seeking to extradite Cleary. The remaining charges go to trial in April 2013.

The four are from all over the country -- Essex, the Shetland Isles, Doncaster and South London -- and stand accused of being members of Lulzsec, a splinter group from amorphous international hacker group Anonymous.

Last summer Lulzsec waged war on the web with DDoS attacks on sites including the NHS, Rupert Murdoch's News International, Nintendo, Sony and 20th Century Fox. One hack saw the group take over the front page of The Sun website with a fake story claiming Rupert Murdoch had died .

Even more daring, Lulzsec claimed responsibility for hacks against the Serious Organised Crime Agency -- the very unit that investigates cybercrime.

Meanwhile, in a separate case of the establishment throwing the book at a young web user, the US is attempting to extradite 23-year-old Richard O'Dwyer for creating a website that linked to copyrighted material.

Are hackers a dangerously unaccountable menace, or fearless crusaders against the excesses and hypocracies of the establishment? Tell me your thoughts in the comments or on our Facebook page.

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About the author

Rich Trenholm is a senior editor at CNET where he covers everything from phones to bionic implants. Based in London since 2007, he has travelled the world seeking out the latest and best consumer technology for your enjoyment.

 

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