Scots LulzSec hacker admits breaking into the CIA
A TEENAGE Scot has admitted hacking into the websites of the CIA and the UK’s top crime agency.
• Scots teen Jake Davis, part of LulzSec, is among four to be charged with hacking top UK and US government agencies
• LulzSec have taken credit for conducting cyber-attacks on News International and US broadcaster PBS
Jake Davis, 18, from Shetland, confessed to launching a string of cyber attacks on major international institutions, including the UK’s Serious Organised Crime Agency (Soca).
Davis – who allegedly called himself Topiary online – and fellow hacker Ryan Cleary, 19, admitted being part of LulzSec, an offshoot of the so-called Anonymous collective which attempted to make top internet sites crash.
They pleaded guilty at Southwark Crown Court to charges that they carried out distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks on the institutions’ websites last year, a court official said.
Other victims of the pair included News International, Arizona State Police, Nintendo, Sony and 20th Century Fox.
But Cleary, from Essex, and Davis, from Lerwick on Shetland, denied “posting unlawfully obtained confidential computer data to public websites” such as LulzSec.com.
Alleged accomplices Ryan Ackroyd, 25, from Mexborough, and a 17-year-old from south London, who cannot be named for legal reasons, deny carrying out DDoS attacks and posting unlawfully obtained material online. They will all stand trial on 8 April next year.
LulzSec claimed responsibility for attacking Soca’s website.
Cleary also faces charges in the US, where he stands accused of breaking into a number of websites, including that of the US X Factor, in order to deface them and steal personal details.
So-called DDoS attacks flood websites with traffic to make them crash.
Davis and Cleary plotted to carry out the attacks with other unknown members of internet groups Anonymous, Internet Feds, and LulzSec. Other websites targeted by the pair were Westboro Baptist Church, Bethesda, Eve Online, HBGary, HBGary Federal, PBS Inc, Infragard, and the Arizona State Police.
Cleary, who has been diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, also admitted four separate charges including an attack on Pentagon computers.
Both men appeared in the dock at Southwark Crown Court on Monday to enter guilty pleas to a series of charges.
But they both denied allegations they posted “unlawfully obtained confidential computer data” to public websites including LulzSec.com, Pirate Bay, and PasteBin, in order to encourage offences contrary to the Serious Crime Act.
Alleged co-hackers Ryan Ackroyd and the 17-year-old A-level student deny their involvement in the DDoS attacks.
Davis, of Hoofields, Lerwick, Shetland, and Cleary, of South Beech Avenue, Wickford, Essex, pleaded guilty 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 pleaded guilty to four further charges under sections 1 and 3 of the Computer Misuse Act 1990 committed between January 2009 and June 2011.
They both pleaded not guilty to encouraging or assisting an offence, contrary to section 45 of the Serious Crime Act 2007, and encouraging or assisting offences, contrary to section 46 of the Serious Crime Act 2007.
All the offences are said to have taken place between February and September 2011.
Ackroyd, of Oak Road, Mexborough, Doncaster; and the 17-year-old, from south London, also denied 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.
Davis became a worldwide figure after his arrest and famously wore dark sunglasses on previous court appearances.
Topiary allegedly described himself as a “simple prankster turned swank garden hedge”.
On 24 February, 2011, he gained attention after appearing on US television and claiming to have replaced a Westboro Baptist Church webpage.
On 14 July, 2011, The Guardian newspaper published an interview with Topiary in which he spoke extensively about his motivations.
Describing himself as “an internet denizen with a passion for change” he said he feared being tracked by the authorities.
He said: “I can only hope that they haven’t pinned any of us, especially my friends from LulzSec.”
After Davis’s arrest, Anonymous launched a “Free Topiary” campaign, which included adding a “Free Topiary” banner to their Twitter avatars.
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