NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Prosecutors say five members of a computer hacking group in the U.S. and abroad were charged today and sixth has pleaded guilty in connection with cyber attack based in New York.
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Five suspects, Jeremy Hammond, Ryan Ackroyd, Jake Davis, Darren Martyn and Donncha O’Cearrbhail have either been arrested already or are being sought. Law enforcement officials say they are members of a group called LulzSec.
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The group also goes by the full name Lulz Security. Hackers associated with the group have claimed to be responsible for a variety of cyber attacks on big companies, law enforcement and government agencies.
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Authorities say Hammond was arrested Monday in Chicago.
A sixth suspect, Manhattan resident Hector Xavier Monsegur, pleaded guilty on Aug. 15 to charges of conspiracy to engage in computer hacking, among other charges, authorities said.
According to the court papers, he was an “influential member of three hacking organizations, Anonymous, Internet Feds and Lulz Security, that were responsible for multiple cyber attacks on the computer systems of various businesses and governments in the United States and throughout the world.”
According to the court papers, he acted as a “rooter,” a computer hacker who identified vulnerabilities in the computer systems of potential victims.
The court papers said he participated in several cyber attacks from December 2010 through last June 7 as part of Anonymous, including attacks on Visa, MasterCard, PayPal, attacks on government computers in Tunisia, Algeria, Yemeni and Zimbabwea.
As part of Internet Feds, he was alleged to have participated in attacks against various business and government entities in the United States and throughout the world, including HBGary Inc., a private security firm, Fox Broadcasting Co. and the Tribune Co.
The court papers said he formed LulzSec last May with other elite hackers, who then attacked various divisions of Sony, a global electronics and media company, as well as the Public Broadcasting Service, the United States Senate, Unveillance, a cyber security firm headquartered in Delaware and Bethesday Softworks, a video game company based in Maryland.
LulzSec is a spin-off of the loosely organized hacking collective Anonymous. Its members attained notoriety last May by attacking the website of the public broadcaster PBS and posting a story claiming that the slain rapper Tupac Shakur was alive and living in New Zealand.
Some alleged associates of the group are already facing charges elsewhere. An English teenager, Ryan Cleary, was arrested by British law enforcement in June and charged with being linked to the group. In July, a reputed LulzSec spokesman, Jake Davis, was arrested in Scotland.
Monsegur faces up to 124 years in prison.
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