LulzSec hackers sentenced to prison time for role in 2011 cyber attacks

Sentences for the four LulzSec 'hacktivists' ranged from a 20-month suspended sentence to 32 months in prison. 

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    Jake Davis, one of four men who had pleaded guilty for their involvement in a series of high-profile cyber attacks in 2011, arrives at Southwark Crown Court for sentencing in London, on May 16, 2013.
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A British court has sentenced three members of the "hacktivist" group LulzSec to prison terms for their role in a series of 2011 cyber attacks. According to the BBC, the three men – Ryan Cleary, Jake Davis, and Ryan Ackroyd – received sentences ranging from 24 to 32 months. A fourth man, Mustafa al-Bassam, was handed down a 20-month suspended sentence. 

"The harm they caused was foreseeable, extensive and intended," Andrew Hadik, a lawyer for the Crown Prosecution Service, said in a statement this week. "Indeed, they boasted of how clever they were with a complete disregard for the impact their actions had on real people's lives. This case should serve as a warning to other cybercriminals that they are not invincible." 

Prosecutors allege that the hackers attacked the websites of the Britain’s National Health Service and the UK’s Serious Organized Crime Agency; in addition, the four men apparently posted scores of e-mail addresses and credit card numbers obtained from Pirate Bay. The sentencing closes the door on what was one of the most closely-watched cyber crime trials in recent years. 

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Still, as Charles Arthur, the tech editor at the Guardian, notes today, a few questions remain, including the location of all the money donated by supporters. In addition, although LulzSec has claimed responsibility for a high-profile hack on Sony's PlayStation Network in the spring of 2011, Arthur has some doubts that the four men sentenced this week had much to do with it. 

"[H]acking the PSN was an act requiring very substantial skills that would have been more usual in a top-flight commercial hacker rather than a loose group who had only just come together," he writes. "If they could do that, one would have expected much more serious hacks." 

For more tech news, follow us on Twitter @venturenaut.

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