LulzSec spokesman Topiary arrested in Scotland
The 19-year-old suspect, who uses the online alias "Topiary," was arrested Wednesday at a home in the Shetland Islands, located off the northeast coast of Scotland, and was booked at a London police station, according to a statement.
In a recent interview inside an internet chat room, Topiary was asked by Salon.com reporter Peter Finocchiaro whether he feared arrest.
"There was a brief window where I was paranoid or that it irked me -- now I just laugh wholeheartedly," Topiary responded.
Topiary is believed to be the person responsible for running the extremely popular Twitter account belonging to LulzSec, a six-person hacking group that emerged in late May and proceeded to launch a series of assaults against a diverse group of organizations. In most cases, the attacks were perpetrated out of principle, the group said.
LulzSec has claimed responsibility for hacks or distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks against such corporations and government organizations as Sony, PBS, NATO, CIA, the U.S. Senate, the Arizona Department of Public Safety and the Sun newspaper.
Toward the end of June, LulzSec passed the torch to fellow cybervigilante Anonymous, which vowed to take the lead on a new operation, dubbed Anti-Security, which calls for hackers worldwide to expose sensitive data that reveals wrongdoing within governments and corporations, namely banks.
But, as many would predict, openly announcing one's intention to target government entities, and the large corporations with which elected leaders often closely ally, is a recipe for trouble.
"The truth is that LulzSec and other hacktivist groups have recently been playing an extremely dangerous game -- taunting the likes of the FBI and British police with a series of hacks and attacks and believing themselves to be invincible," Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at U.K.-based security firm Sophos, wrote today in a blog post. "If the arrested man is indeed a key member of the LulzSec gang, it could be the British police who have the last laugh."
The arrest of Topiary, believed to be interviewed here last year, comes as the Anonymous group launched an initiative asking people to close their PayPal accounts in response to the online money transfer service last year severing its relationship with whistleblower site WikiLeaks. Last week, more than a dozen people were arrested on charges of participating in DDoS attacks against PayPal.
Wednesday's arrest of Topiary was carried out in conjunction with the Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency.