22 Jun 2011

British teenager charged over Soca hacking attack

A 19-year-old from Essex has been charged with carrying out a cyber attack on the UK’s Serious Organised Crime Agency and other websites. The LulzSec hacker group denies he is one of their members.

British teenager charged with cyber attack

Nineteen-year-old Ryan Cleary is due in court on Thursday charged with a total of five offences under the Criminal Law and Computer Misuse Acts.

The teenager from Wickford in Essex is accused of setting up a network of “zombie” computers, called a “botnet”, which are used to bombard a website with traffic, causing it to crash.

One of these distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks was directed at the Serious Organised Crime Agency (Soca) website on 20 June.

In a statement on Tuesday Soca said: “Soca chose to take its website offline temporarily… to limit the impact of the Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack on other clients hosted by our service provider.

“The Soca website only contains publicly available information and does not provide access to Soca’s operational material or data.”

More from Channel 4 News: 'Tens of thousands' of cyber attacks every day

Mr Cleary was arrested at his family home on Tuesday as part of a Scotland Yard and FBI investigation into LulzSec, a group which has also claimed responsibility for hacking attempts on Sony, the US Senate and the CIA.

It also claimed to have identified flaws in computer systems at the NHS.

LulzSec has denied that the teenager was a member of the group. The group said on Twitter that “Ryan Cleary is not part of LulzSec”.

Mr Cleary is also alleged to have carried out attacks against the British Phonographic Industry’s website on 29 October last year and the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry’s website on 28 November last year.

It is understood that investigations are continuing into other alleged hacking attacks in the UK and abroad.

Census hack ‘ looks like a hoax’

Claims hackers accessed the UK census earlier this week have been labelled “a hoax”.

An online posting, purporting to be the work of the LulzSec group, appeared on Tuesday and claimed the group had “obtained records of every single citizen”who had filled out the survey.

LulzSec later denied targeting the census, saying “that’s not us”.

Census Director, Glen Watson, said today: “I can reassure the public that their census records are secure. We have strict measures in place protecting the nation’s census information. The claim that hackers got in looks like a hoax and our investigation concluded that there is no sign of any suspicious activity.

“However, we are not complacent and will remain vigilant. The security and confidentiality of census data remain our top priority.”