April 10, 2013
Fourth LulzSec Member Pleads Guilty To Cyberattacks Against Sony And Nintendo
redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online
A 26-year-old member of the hacktivist group LulzSec has pleaded guilty to one count of computer hacking.
Ryan Ackroyd from Mexborough, England, admitted to being part of LulzSec, and entered his plea at a hearing in London on Tuesday after having previously denied involvement in the cyberattacks against Sony Corp., Nintendo Co., News Corp and others.
He will be sentenced on May 14 along with three other LulzSec members, but will not face trial on a separate count of operating a "denial of service attack,” which will lie on file.
Denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks flood servers with requests for information until they shut down.
Prosecutors said Ackroyd had adopted the persona of a 16-year-old girl named "Kayla" within LulzSec.
"He was the hacker, so to speak, they turned to him for his expertise as a hacker,” Prosecutor Sandip Patel told the court according to The Guardian.
Ackroyd conducted cyberattacks on the websites of the Arizona State Police, Sony, News Corp.´s Twentieth Century Fox, Britain´s National Health Service (NHS) and security firm HBGary Inc. between February 2011 and September 2011, prosecutors said in the indictment.
Three other British members of the hacktivist group had already pleaded guilty to cyberattacks on the NHS, Sony and News International. Jake Davis, 20, and Mustafa Al-Bassam, 18, who were also were defendants in the current case, had previously pleaded to disrupting websites at the Central Intelligence Agency and the U.K.´s Serious Organized Crime Agency (SOCA).
Bassam is the youngest person to date to admit charges linked to LulzSec, and is believed to have used the name "Tflow".
The trio was arrested after the group's apparent leader, Hector Monsegur, known online as “Sabu,” was caught by the FBI and became an informant for the agency.
Prosecutors said the three men had modified some computers, including adjusting security settings and access to confidential data, and redirected visitors to the hackers´ websites.
A fourth LulzSec member, Ryan Cleary, 21, from Wickford, England, pleaded guilty to six connected charges in June.
Cleary also admitted installing or altering files on Pentagon computers operated by the U.S. Air Force and constructing a botnet that could conduct distributed denial of service attacks and direct it to target websites operated by a British Web hosting site.
Separately, US prosecutors are pursuing charges against a number of people allegedly connected to LulzSec and Anonymous, including Reuters journalist Matthew Keys, who was indicted last month in California for allegedly conspiring with Anonymous to hack into a Web site run by the publisher Tribune Company.