Remember LulzSec? The Anonymous-offshoot gang of hackers who alternately terrorized and delighted the internet in the summer of 2011 have been pretty much all rounded up. And today four Brits who were core members of the group were sentenced in the UK for their crimes.
LulzSec's 50-day crime spree was most notable for the publicity the group sought and received; they hacked mostly for laughs, not money, taking down Sony, the CIA, Fox and many others while churning out a stream of amusing propaganda and inside-jokes. But at their sentencing today in London, the judge made clear that the law found nothing funny about their stunts:
"It's clear from the evidence that they intended to achieve extensive national and international notoriety and publicity. They saw themselves as latter-day pirates," she said. "This is not about young immature men messing about. They are at the cutting edge of a contemporary and emerging species of criminal offender known as a cyber criminal."
- Jake Davis - "Topiary" - Two years in a young offenders' institution.
- Ryan Cleary - "Viral" - Imprisoned for 32 months, of which he will serve half.
- Mustafa Al-Bassam - "T-Flow" - 20 months prison sentence suspended for two years, and 300 hours community service.
- Ryan Ackroyd - "Kayla" - 30 months prison sentence, of which he will serve half.
The most compelling of the LulzSec characters is 20-year-old Jake Davis aka Topiary. A teenager when LulzSec began, Topiary was the smarmy spokesman of the group who debated the Westboro Baptist Church while his colleagues hacked them live on a radio show. Before he was busted he posted a final, self-aggrandizing tweet, "You cannot arrest an idea." Later he penned an op-ed for the Guardian about how better his life was without the internet after he'd been caught.