Alleged LulzSec spokesperson "Topiary" released on bail

The person arrested in the UK last week and believed to be the spokesperson for the hacker group LulzSec is a free man, at least for the moment. The Guardian web site reports that Jake Davis, an 18 year old from the Shetland Islands, was released from jail on bail today. Earlier last week, Davis, who the UK police believe to be "Topiary", the spokesperson for the well known hacker group LulzSec, was arrested and charged with several counts of hacking and breaking into computer systems.

Davis held onto a copy of the book Free Radicals: The Secret Anarchy of Science, while the charges that he is accused of were read out loud in a court in London today. The article states that while he is out on bail, he is not allowed to access the Internet, even indirectly. He will stay with his mother and will have an electronic tag placed on him to enforce a curfew which lasts from 10 pm to 7 am.

Technically, LulzSec is supposed to be disbanded. Earlier this year the group gained worldwide attention after it started a series of cyber attacks on various major businesses and government organizations. However, the group decided to shut down its campaign in late June after 50 days of hack attacks. Just before that happened, UK law enforcement arrested and charged another suspected LulzSec member, 19 year old Ryan Cleary. Cleary is accused of setting up a denial of service attack on the Serious Organized Crime Agency (SOCA) on June 20 along with a number of other cyber attacks.

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Why has he got a curfew ? He has been hacking not fighting in nightclubs or trying to kill someone. I wonder if he is allowed to play xbox live ?

Gaffney said,
I wonder if he is allowed to play xbox live ?
Ooh, I don't know, maybe read the article? "he is not allowed to access the Internet, even indirectly"

What I don't get is that although what some of these guys did was sometimes a little annoying, who is going to do it when they are gone?

Do people seriously think it's a good idea to live with security holes that other less scrupulous people could exploit for their own personal gain?

At least the publicity they generated highlighted just how lacking the security in many large and influential institutions is.

And on the scale of it, what harm was done? It's hardly the most damaging kind of crime. No one was physically injured and nothing awful happened to anyone (except maybe having to change a few passwords that probably always needed to be changed anyway. After all there's no excuse for having 'password' as your password.)

There are some bull**** rumours about them being involved in stealing $500,000 in in one of their attacks, but this is exactly just bull****. There's no evidence of this, and no charges like this brought to this effect. It's just bull**** propaganda perpetrated by the corporate media (Fox), to help cover their embarrassment at being made to look so foolish by a bunch of kids.

This kid almost certainly deserves a slap on the wrist for what he did, but no way does he deserve the 70+ years of ass-rape and hard labour in an American Federal prison they are probably going to dish out to him. The Brits will hand him over in a heartbeat, but I think that this would be a clear case of cruel and unusual punishment if they did.

For all the talk of lax security ... why does the blame almost all go on the victim not the perpetrator for online stuff? It's not like if someone breaks into my house, I'm at fault because I had breakable windows. If my Gmail password is 10 characters not 20 characters, that doesn't make me twice at fault, or the cracker half as bad.

Sure, people should check their security, but you cannot expect everyone to have uncrackable passwords or flawless software. The hackers still chose to hack it, after all. I would never be able to 100% prevent someone from breaking into my house, just make it secure enough as to be very unlikely.

Kirkburn said,
For all the talk of lax security ... why does the blame almost all go on the victim not the perpetrator for online stuff? It's not like if someone breaks into my house, I'm at fault because I had breakable windows. If my Gmail password is 10 characters not 20 characters, that doesn't make me twice at fault, or the cracker half as bad.

Sure, people should check their security, but you cannot expect everyone to have uncrackable passwords or flawless software. The hackers still chose to hack it, after all. I would never be able to 100% prevent someone from breaking into my house, just make it secure enough as to be very unlikely.

It's still better that someone finds these holes and makes them known in order to force the companies in question to take action.

What would you rather, that these gaping security holes be left open for anyone with malicious intent and only very basic computer skills to come along and exploit for their own personal gain? If it wasn't for hackers the internet wouldn't be even nearly a tiny percentage as secure and useful as it is now. Like or loath the inconvenience of sometimes having to change your passwords, hackers provide a public service, by forcing companies to plug security holes and by educating people about their own personal security. If these aren't worthwhile things to do, then your point may be valid. No one is blaming you, but if you are dumb enough and lazy enough to have an easy to guess password, then you should probably say thanks to these guys for reminding you what a truly awful idea this is.

I think to an extent it's a false dichotomy. Burglars don't provide a service by showing people they should secure their homes. While hackers do expose flaws in software, it doesn't require breaking the law to do so.

That being said, yes, they are drawing attention to some lax security practises, but it doesn't excuse the actions.

Kirkburn said,
I think to an extent it's a false dichotomy. Burglars don't provide a service by showing people they should secure their homes. While hackers do expose flaws in software, it doesn't require breaking the law to do so.

That being said, yes, they are drawing attention to some lax security practises, but it doesn't excuse the actions.

You are of course talking boll*cks. So what do they do, just shut up and stay quiet about it? What kind of state would the internet be in then? Breaking into someone's home and stealing their hard earned belongings is hardly on the same scale as forcing someone with a stupidly weak password to change it, or exposing large media outlets for their hypocrisy, or for exposing government agencies for not securing the data that we entrust them with. Their role is one of education and the fact that they didn't do anything particularly harmful with the information they uncovered should I think be commended. If you are saying that all hackers should 'convert' and always play on the right side of the law and always work with companies and government agencies to expose security flaws, then I think you're potentially deluded. What then is the attraction for hackers, where's the motivation, where's the challenge? I'm supposed to just trust these companies and my government to do the right thing? Kids want to rebel and thank God this is one way for them to do it. For one if some big company, or my government was dicking with me, I would want people around who were able and who had the balls to expose it. Clearly it seems you wouldn't. Hackers are important because they shock governments and large companies into action (action that they might not take otherwise). They are important because they may often help to expose information that these large companies and government agencies might otherwise try to hide from us. But no way are they in the same league as common criminals, or thieves, because unlike what these miserable thieving c*nts, what these guys do often results in a positive outcome for society. Better security, exposing of government inadequacies, exposing issues of public interest etc.

Your world sounds Orwellian to me. A world in which no one challenges the government, or the power of huge multinational companies and in which anyone with a basic IT skill level can access any of your data any time they want. Excuse me if I don't feel inclined to sign up for that.

jebus197, you're extrapolating a ridiculously *huge* amount from what I said. I'm implying people shouldn't do illegal stuff without *incredibly* good justification.

What happened here was not good justification - it didn't require disclosing innocent people's information, nor block their access to systems they rely on. And talking of lulzsec specifically, half the time it was for the lulz, which has absolutely no meaning. Protests are reasonable, exposing bad security practices is reasonable - but neither need interfering with people's livelihoods. There are best practises for disclosing security flaws after all (first, contact the people responsible ... I suspect normally that would freak them out enough to do something about it).

So, please, don't put words in my mouth.

Kirkburn said,
jebus197, you're extrapolating a ridiculously *huge* amount from what I said. I'm implying people shouldn't do illegal stuff without *incredibly* good justification.

What happened here was not good justification - it didn't require disclosing innocent people's information, nor block their access to systems they rely on. And talking of lulzsec specifically, half the time it was for the lulz, which has absolutely no meaning. Protests are reasonable, exposing bad security practices is reasonable - but neither need interfering with people's livelihoods. There are best practises for disclosing security flaws after all (first, contact the people responsible ... I suspect normally that would freak them out enough to do something about it).

So, please, don't put words in my mouth.

Best practices don't always involve working with the people who are dicking with you. Even if it was just for lulz, they still exposed important security holes in a number of systems and made a significant social point about the current state of on-line security. I can't see how anyone possibly really got harmed by what they did. Sure some people had to change their lame passwords, some companies had to tighten up on their lame security and some government branches and media organisations got caught with their pants down. The result? Everyone upped their game and the internet became a slightly more secure place than it was previously. Where is the downside and public harm exactly? Thieves steal real stuff. Hackers whatever their motives, have progressively forced the pace of technological change and have enhanced the security of everyone. Find a way to say it aint so and maybe we can meet on the same page.

Anyway what other reason have hackers ever done anything except for Lulz? You can call it a different name if you want. A challenge, 'for the thrill', 'for the fame', 'for the rep', whatever.... it's all the same and has had the same net effect of making your experience when buying the usual round up of outsized inflatable dildos for your local online Betterbuy store, a reasonably safe and pleasant experience. Casual hackers made this happen faster than any commercial company working on it's own ever could. I just think you don't have a clue about what the internet is, how it happened and what made it what it is today. The internet needs hackers (casual, ethical, unethical, just for lulz, or whoever), because without them we are all screwed, you and me included.

Edited by jebus197, Aug 2 2011, 10:16pm :

jebus197 said,
I can't see how anyone possibly really got harmed by what they did. Sure some people had to change their lame passwords

Are you kidding? Apart from the obvious - yes people are harmed by having their personal details leaked - what on earth does the 'lameness' of the password have to do with anything. If a password is revealed, it's revealed regardless of its complexity.

You seem to suggest nothing of real consequence happens on the internet or something? The internet does not *need* people doing illegal stuff. Just like we don't *need* stalkers, having them doesn't *help* people, except make them paranoid about their security.

The hackers did thieve stuff, btw. Y'know, those account details and far more. Sure it's not physical property, but I don't care for semantics, especially since IANAL. It's pretty obviously 'thieving' of personal data.

Anyway, this post is over a day old, so I'm moving on. Interesting discussion, regardless

satukoro said,
I wouldn't be surprised if he managed to have the device give false readings and stay out past curfew.

If cuaght doing that then he would be in even more trouble!

satukoro said,
I wouldn't be surprised if he managed to have the device give false readings and stay out past curfew.

He is part of a group that is responsible for the theft of up to $500,000 and the hacking of multiple government/military/LE sites where usernames and passwords were leaked putting the lives of thousands of innocent people in danger.

You honestly believe the only surveillance on him is a little bracelet? If that really is the only way they're keeping tabs on him, that would prove one thing: He gave information on the other members and activities and in return they give him a little more freedom. At least that's what they convinced him of. In reality, they'll keep tabs on him for a while. They're more than willing to watch people for years and years.

satukoro said,
I wouldn't be surprised if he managed to have the device give false readings and stay out past curfew.

You think that dork would be out past 10pm even without a tagged curfew? I doubt it

Hardcore Til I Die said,
You think that dork would be out past 10pm even without a tagged curfew? I doubt it
Of all the places to put across stupid nerd stereotyping, you do it on Neowin?

FMH said,
I feel so sorry for him, since he's so young.

You shouldn't feel sorry for a criminal who breaks the law on purpose.

Callum said,

You shouldn't feel sorry for a criminal who breaks the law on purpose.

What about all the rich as criminals in government who are just apart of the system? Who control politics and could never get more then a 5 year penalty while some hackers face up to 70 years for just for access and nothing malicious.

Callum said,

You shouldn't feel sorry for a criminal who breaks the law on purpose.
Or may be we should be thankful to them for making us more careful about our security. Or showing us, just how vulnerable we are, that even a teen could break us.

Rusty.Metal said,

while some hackers face up to 70 years for just for access and nothing malicious.

Except they did a lot of malicious activity. You know like releasing usernames and passwords of innocent people. The identify thieves are having a field day with this.

psionicinversion said,
Hmm 10pm to 7am... omg he's being forced to go sleep at a reasonable time, oh the humanity!!

Nah it just stops him leaving the house during those hours...which he probably didn't do anyway!

Hardcore Til I Die said,

Nah it just stops him leaving the house during those hours...which he probably didn't do anyway!

100% truth

These hardcore followers/sheep are usually anti-social teens who can't think for themselves and rarely leave their homes to begin with. Strapping a bracelet on them and telling them they can't leave home is usually a reward.

Hopefully Topiary does actually find a way to get online and see how his great leader Sabu screwed him over a few times and showed his true feelings towards his fellow members. 1.) Jake's original plan was to have the original person he stole the Topiary name from to be blamed while he ran. That started to happen until Sabu confirmed the real Topiary was arrested. 2.) Sabu then went on to say "R.I.P Topiary" as if he were dead to him and no longer needed him 3.) Sabu never mentioned "freetopiary" until after he was released on bail. Now that he's been released and most likely has info on Sabu( that he more than likely already gave up seeing how quick he got out), Sabu needs to kiss some butt

NightmarE D said,

100% truth

These hardcore followers/sheep are usually anti-social teens who can't think for themselves and rarely leave their homes to begin with. Strapping a bracelet on them and telling them they can't leave home is usually a reward.

Hopefully Topiary does actually find a way to get online and see how his great leader Sabu screwed him over a few times and ....<snip the rest of this tripe>

OK, I'll admit I'm not privvy to the inside scoop on these matters as my days of late night, week long IRC sessions with undesirables have more than passed me by, but the above is nothing but conjecture.

UK bail system DOES work relatively fast for non-aggressive crimes such as this. We're not the US just yet!!!

I hope this guy get's what he deserves but the tripe you splutter about Sabu and the alleged "screwing" is unfounded.