AFP arrests alleged LulzSec hacker



news A high-profile takedown is sure to send shockwaves through the hacker community after the Australian Federal Police arrested a 24-year-old IT worker on a variety of charges, related to his alleged involvement in the Lulz Security (LulzSec) hacking group that could land him up to 12 years in jail.

The suspect, who lives in Point Clare – just a few kilometres from rural Gosford, NSW – has been charged with two counts of unauthorised modification of data to cause impairment (under section 477.2 of the Criminal Code Act 1995), and one count of unauthorised access to, or modification of, restricted data (under s478.1 of the Criminal Code Act 1995). The offences relate to the attack and defacement of a government Web site whose compromise was discovered by police earlier this month.

A police statement (read it here) said the man was in “a position of trust within [his] company, with access to sensitive information from clients including government agencies” and that his knowledge and skills “presented a significant risk to the clients of the company for which he was employed had he continued his illegal online activities.

It is the AFP’s first arrest of a member of Lulzsec, which has been linked to a number of high-profile hacking efforts in recent years – for example, efforts against the CIA, now-defunct News Corporation masthead News of the World and Sony Pictures. It has been variously linked and portrayed as a rival of the Anonymous hacking group, although it has been much quieter recently: the group’s once-prolific Twitter account has not seen a new post since 27 July 2011.

The AFP wasted no opportunity to parade the arrest to the media, calling a press conference this morning and issuing a warning to similarly-minded hackers.

“Those thinking of engaging in such activities should be warned that hacking, creating or propagating malicious viruses or participating in Distributed Denial of Service attacks are not harmless fun,” Commander Glen McEwen, manager of Cyber Crime Operations, said in a statement. “Criminal acts such as this can result in serious long-term consequences for individuals, such as criminal convictions or imprisonment.”

Image credits: Andrew Bardwell CC BY-SA 3.0, Twitter


  1. [removed by Renai]

    As for the “up to 12yrs in jail*” that is so far out there in impossibility land that its annoying that any media still spout it as gospel. It’s used as a psychological stick by the authorities in press releases etc to show the uninformed that ‘justice’ will be done and these ungodly hackers of the *waves hands mysteriously* unknown tech witchery will be brought to there knees. Courts though it seems have other more equitable and based on due process and not FUD plans.

    *jail is spelt gaol in Australia *looks at you*

  2. I have really got to take issue with “The suspect, who lives in Point Clare – just a few kilometres from rural Gosford, NSW”

    Gosford City has a population of 150K+ and is considered almost a dormitory suburb of Greater Sydney. About 40% of the working population commute to Sydney or Newcastle to work. The amount of rural activity is fairly minimal with most of the orchards and market garden long gone. I don’t think anyone would call it rural, a great holiday destination definitely.

    Where the writer dug up the idea of calling Gosford “rural” beggars the imagination. One wonders, judging by this and the other comments, if this wasn’t a rehash of a press release without any scrutiny for accuracy. It is disappointing for this to have eventually crept into a Delimiter article.

    • The media really are having a hard time with geography.

      The article in the news where an NBNCo contractor dialled before they dug and ended up cutting a main Telstra cable from the exchange, had a similar mischaracterisation. They referred to Goodna as a ‘small town’. It’s a suburb of Ipswich, which has a population of 170k.

  3. On the bright side, he isn’t being charged in the US and facing “up to” 35 years in jail.

    And a side comment for G Thompson: as a long-time member of Grammar Nazis of Australia Inc. (a not-for-profit organisation), I must object to your suggestion that “gaol” is the only acceptable spelling of the word in this country. Both “jail” and “gaol” are accepted.

  4. Hey everyone,

    just as an FYI, I have removed all identifying information related to the suspect from this article, and any future comments which identify the suspect will be instantly deleted. I’m also closing comments here.

    I have taken this decision as I believe that the current journalistic coverage of this case by other media outlets has had the potential to cause significant harm to this suspect, regardless of the outcome of the case. I also note that he has not yet been tried in court, but is right now being tried independently in the dubious court of public opinion. This individual is not a celebrity and his identity is consequently not a matter of public interest, in my opinion. I will not be a party causing unwarranted harm to this kind of suspect, outside of the existing court process. I hope this makes sense.

    Editor + Publisher, Delimiter

Comments are closed.