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. 

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.

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. 

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." 

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