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LulzSec hackers deny stealing UK census data, first arrest made

Hack attack! Rumours are flying around the Internet that LulzSec has stolen UK census data and seen one of its members arrested. Is the net closing on headline-grabbing hackers?

Hack attack! Rumour and misinformation is flying around the Internet with claims that UK census data has been stolen by LulzSec -- a charge the hacktivist group denies. But as the first arrest is made, is the net closing on the headline-grabbing hackers?

Officers from the Metropolitan Police Central e-Crime Unit nicked a 19-year-old hacker last night in Wickford, Essex. The hacker is under lock and key in London, facing charges of computer misuse and fraud. Police say the arrest "follows an 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."

That sure sounds like a reference to LulzSec, but just because the arrest stems from the investigation doesn't mean the arrestee was directly involved.

LulzSec quickly distanced itself from the hapless hacker, tweeting, "Seems the glorious leader of LulzSec got arrested, it's all over now... wait... we're all still here! Which poor bastard did they take down?"

LulzSec also denies stealing UK census data, denouncing a press release on Pastebin purporting to be issued by the group: "don't believe fake LulzSec releases unless we put out a tweet first". We hope it is fake -- the release promises to post the data to the Pirate Bay, and that's not even slightly lulzworthy.

Highlighting the vulnerability of government and corporate data is one thing, stealing census data is quite another. Census information includes details of all aspects of our lives, from our religion to our jobs -- and all including names and addresses, too.

The Census Office and the Office of National Statistics are investigating the claims, and are yet to confirm whether any data has actually been compromised.

The monocled mutineers at LulzSec have taken responsibility for a denial of service attack on the UK's Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) this week, following attacks on the CIA and FBI. They've also attacked Sony, Nintendo and assorted games companies, and have joined forces with amorphous protest group Anonymous to continue hacking and leaking under the banner of AntiSec, or Anti-Security.

Has LulzSec gone too far? Is the group a plucky band of online freedom fighters or an unaccountable rabble of data thieves? Tell us your thoughts in the comments or on our Facebook page.