The LulzSec computer hacking group, which claimed to have breached the websites of Sony, the CIA and a British police unit, has announced it is disbanding.
LulzSec said in a statement: “Our planned 50 day cruise has expired, and we must now sail into the distance, leaving behind – we hope – inspiration, fear, denial, happiness, approval, disapproval, mockery, embarrassment, thoughtfulness, jealousy, hate, even love.”
The latest LulzSec Twitter posting reads: “Oh, oh, finally! Media, please be sure to report on the actual files we leaked, not just our silly press statement. Much love.”
Our planned 50 day cruise has expired, and we must now sail into the distance. LulzSec statement
The decision to close the group comes days after LulzSec threatened to escalate its cyber attacks and steal classified information from governments, banks and other major establishment.
LulzSec had also said it was teaming up with the Anonymous hacker activist group to cause more serious trouble.
On 21 June Channel 4 News reported that the group had posted a message on the internet in which it claimed to have obtained the records of “every single citizen who gave up their records to the security-illiterate UK government for the 2011 census”.
On the same day Ryan Cleary was arrested on suspicion of helping to mastermind an international computer hacking ring following a joint operation by the FBI and Scotland Yard.
Two days later Mr Cleary appeared in court charged with five offences under the Criminal Law and Computer Misuse Act.
Computer security expert Dr Tim Jordan, of Kings College, London, told Channel 4 News it was unclear why LulzSec had decided to close down.
“Even a short time before they closed, they were proclaiming they had things to release on Monday and every subsequent Friday,” he said.
“Their reason for closing – that they set out to cause mayhem for 50 days, and that they’re moving into the AntiSec movement – are unconvincing.
One consistent aspect of hacking is that the stream of data you send out can eventually be pointed back at you. Dr Tim Jordan, computer security expert
“One possible reason is that for the last couple of weeks, at least, alleged transcripts from their secure IRC channel have appeared – and at least two former members are thought to have informed on them to the FBI. So they may feel they’re being closed in on.”
Dr Jordan believes LulzSec’s members will now attempt to return to the hacking underground. “But if they do, they’ll have to drop all the forms of communication they’re using.
“One consistent aspect of hacking is that the steam of data you send out can eventually be pointed back at you. You can make that extremely difficult to do, but in the end you have to send data out – and that data can come back.
“So if they feel the heat is on, they would have to stop for a while and try to cover their traces.”