Teenager arrested over Anonymous and LulzSec attacks

The Met Police have detained a 16-year-old South Londoner suspected of involvement in Anonymous and LulzSec attacks, part of a co-ordinated series of raids around the world
Written by Tom Espiner, Contributor

A South London teenager has been arrested on suspicion of involvement in cyberattacks launched by Anonymous and LulzSec activists.

Anonymous logo

A teenager in London has been arrested by the Met Police in connection with cyberattacks carried out by Anonymous and LulzSec. Image credit: Anonymous

The 16-year-old youth was detained by officers from the Metropolitan Police Central eCrime Unit (PCeU) on Tuesday, as part of a series of co-ordinated raids with the FBI and Dutch police, according to detective chief inspector Charlie McMurdie.

"We've been working very closely with the FBI and very closely with international partners," McMurdie told ZDNet UK. "This [group] is one of our primary targets."

The Met believes Anonymous and LulzSec are part of the same amorphous group of activists. Anonymous has launched a series of high-profile attacks around issues such as Scientology. It has also claimed responsibility for the Operation Payback distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) campaigns against PayPal, MasterCard and Visa, for their refusal to process donations to whistleblower site Wikileaks.

LulzSec, which says its disruption is done for comedic effect, has claimed it was behind the hacking of the Sun website on Monday, and an attack on the Serious Organised Crime Agency in June, among others.

"We've conducted a number of arrests around Anonymous," said McMurdie. "There are working splinter groups, and Lulzsec is one such group that has been formed."

The youth arrested on Tuesday is suspected of breaching the Computer Misuse Act, which covers unauthorised access to computing material through hacking and unauthorised modification of computing material. He is being held in custody at a central London police station and has not been charged. The computing equipment seized at the time of his arrest is undergoing forensic examination.

International raids

In the international raids, the FBI arrested 14 individuals and the Dutch police arrested four people on suspicion of being involved in attacks on PayPal.

In addition, the FBI detained Scott Matthew Arciszewski on Tuesday on suspicion of tampering with the InfraGard website. InfraGard is an FBI-sponsored public-private partnership that shares critical infrastructure knowledge.

In January, the PCeU arrested five men suspected of being involved in Operation Payback. In addition, UK police charged Ryan Cleary over Anonymous attacks in June. ZDNet UK understands that intelligence from those arrests and others by the FBI and foreign partner organisations led to Tuesday's raids.

Those international police forces are co-ordinating an extended operation against Anonymous and LulzSec, and sharing information through Interpol, according McMurdie. This collaboration has fed into recent investigations into Anonymous in Italy, Spain and Turkey, she noted.

"It's fair to say all these investigations have international overlaps," said McMurdie. "At every step we share intelligence with the appropriate international partners and have shared intelligence through Interpol."

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