Two British members of the notorious Lulz Security hacking collective have pleaded guilty to a slew of computer crimes, in the latest blow against online troublemakers whose exploits have grabbed headlines and embarrassed governments around the world.
Ryan Cleary, 20, and Jake Davis, 19, pleaded guilty to conspiring with other members of LulzSec to attack government, media and law enforcement websites last year, according to Gryff Waldron, an official at London’s Southwark Crown Court.
LulzSec – an offshoot of the loose-knit computer hacking collective known as Anonymous – has claimed responsibility for attacks against sites run by the Central Intelligence Agency, the US Public Broadcasting Service and Rupert Murdoch’s News International.
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Other targets included media and gaming companies such as Nintendo and Sony, tech security company HBGary, Britain’s National Health Service and Arizona State Police.
Waldron said two other defendants – Ryan Ackroyd and an unnamed teenager – are contesting the same charges.
All four have denied encouraging or assisting others to commit fraud or other computer offences.
Cleary, one of the first LulzSec conspirators to be arrested, also pleaded guilty to providing the hackers with illegally hijacked computer networks for use in denial-of-service attacks, which overwhelm websites by flooding them with bogus traffic.
He has also admitted breaching the Pentagon’s cyberdefences by installing or altering files on US Air Force Agency computers.
Cleary faces a US federal indictment in relation to his cyberattacks, but his lawyer says she will “fiercely contest” any moves to extradite her client to America.