Alleged teenage LulzSec leader arrested in Essex, UK [Update]

News has just broken claiming that the leader and mastermind of infamous hacking group LulzSec has been arrested in Wickford, Essex. The suspect in question is a 19-year-old male who was caught as a result of a pre-planned operation and collaboration between the Essex Police and the FBI. The teenager was “arrested on suspicion of Computer Misuse Act, and Fraud Act offences” and is currently detained in a London police station, according to a UK Metropolitan Police report.

The arrest comes after an investigation into recent network hacks and Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks on major websites worldwide, allegedly by the same group (believed to be LulzSec). Searches were also conducted at the residency of the teenager and a significant amount of material was and still is being examined by forensic experts. Due to the nature of the intelligence-led operation and the investigation into recent hacks it is more than likely that the teenager is in fact the mastermind behind LulzSec.

No other details have emerged at this stage about the situation; however this just goes to show that no hacking group is immune to the effects of the law and the professionals that man investigations. This will obviously be a major blow to the group, but as recent leaks suggest there was not just one person behind LulzSec, instead several who all went by various aliases. It is only a matter of time before they too are caught.

Update: According to a tweet posted just under half an hour ago by @Anonesc, the alleged leader of Lulzsec is apparently not a leader at all, but actually an IRC operator named Ryan.

At the very least, Lulzsec have confirmed that the detained teenager had some part in the group, albeit not as dramatic as first believed.

Thanks to _DP and others for the tips via the forums

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130 Comments

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I hope everyone realizes that if the UK or the US wanted to really catch these guys it wouldnt be hard. They've been an annoyance to certain companies but no real harm done. They've freaked some people out and gotten media attention and thats fine. I have no problem with that. If they decide to go after bigger targets that get the Feds attention it will be game over.

downhillrider said,
I hope everyone realizes that if the UK or the US wanted to really catch these guys it wouldnt be hard. They've been an annoyance to certain companies but no real harm done. They've freaked some people out and gotten media attention and thats fine. I have no problem with that. If they decide to go after bigger targets that get the Feds attention it will be game over.

http://www.unveillance.com/lat...illance-official-statement/

I don't call that no harm done. They have done plenty of harm, including posting thousands and thousands of users logins and passwords for everyone to see.

So how long till we see "Blah Blah has little to do with #LuzSec besides blah blah. All 5 members of @LulzSec are fine and safe" and so on and so fourth....

Do you really believe they would truthfully admit if this person was one of their leaders? Of course they're going to deny any fact of this person being one of their leaders just for their own sake.

GollyJeeWizz said,
Do you really believe they would truthfully admit if this person was one of their leaders? Of course they're going to deny any fact of this person being one of their leaders just for their own sake.

Not only that, I wouldn't think they'd be stupid enough to let on that there are 6 members. I think they'd prefer to simply not give out a number at all.

I see Lulz is claiming it wasn't any of their "leaders". But this isn't something they would tell the truth about anyways... common sense tells me that. Their ego is too big for it.

And if its someone else, and they are a member of "lulz" maybe they can get some info out of him or his computer and turn in the jerks of the group.

Lets be real, everything in the internet is traceable, plus, no one is perfect. Human error is always there, specially with cocky people, so just give it some time... this Lulz guys/kids will fail at a point and get caught, even if it takes years. Sooner or later they'll end up eating cockmeat sandwich.

Good show! IRC operator or not he,ll be holding info and not doubt info that will lead them to the other 6. The fact there so brason about it all suggests they expect to be caught.

And you know what Lulsec, I couldnt give a flying **** about whos hackin who under my nose, but I wont be pulled into your attempts to lolz the internet.

Its good to fight for a cause but when your deliberately stepping on normal folks toes in order to give your cause momentum then your not beating the enemy but rather your own kind.

So what do they expect? Assuming they make a diff and the nets shook up, what next? Do they really think that there wouldnt be reprocutions? Indeed ones which wouldnt effect them and allow them to continue or indeed end up screwed even harder themselves?

Soz lulsec but you can just trott on were all sick of you already.

Colicab said,
were all sick of you already.

Speak for yourself sir, I'm lulzing everytime i read something from them. Best internet humor in a long time.

Ryan Cleary was obstructing on Anonymous for a variety of reasons.... back several months ago he hacked ANON because he was upset with various things. This may be why they got him.... the others are just being given time. There is a high chance he encrypted things, this is not your average ircd op.... I think the fact that LulzSec made the statement that "he was nothing to us" is more proof that LulzSec is really Anon... If you were watching closely, my bet is that "th3j35t3r" had alot to do with this.... along with "fakegregroush".... I knew something was going down last night. Now we wait... first Lulzsec says they didn't get the Census info, claim the pastebin is fake, and now the Census people are saying they were hacked.... the plot thickens...

I'll LoL real hard when they don't find anything on his computer and they have to let him go and if they do find something then really he needs a slap upside the head for pretending to be a hacker....

Athlonite said,
I'll LoL real hard when they don't find anything on his computer and they have to let him go and if they do find something then really he needs a slap upside the head for pretending to be a hacker....

Unless he constantly deletes files and then wipes them using the guttmann algorithm he's going to have left a trace on any computers he's used. Hackers aren't magicians... they leave a trace just like everyone else.

He probably got cocky and thought they'd never trace anything back to him and so didn't bother to wipe his computer.

LOL people love to defend criminals.

I believe in the UK your considered and adult at age 18.

The U.S. wants to extradite him and try him in the U.S.

While running an IRC may not be illegal, when its connected to an fbi investigation I'm sure some of those rules/laws change.


Doesn't matter if he is not a leader of lulz, the more lower level hackers get arrested the less other new ones will take the risk, leaving little to no one for these lulz guys to hide behind. Funny people think they are joining a cause they are just being used as canon fodder/pawns.

Lock em all away, make examples of them I say.

Wil Apolinario said,
LOL people love to defend criminals.

I believe in the UK your considered and adult at age 18.

The U.S. wants to extradite him and try him in the U.S.

While running an IRC may not be illegal, when its connected to an fbi investigation I'm sure some of those rules/laws change.


Doesn't matter if he is not a leader of lulz, the more lower level hackers get arrested the less other new ones will take the risk, leaving little to no one for these lulz guys to hide behind. Funny people think they are joining a cause they are just being used as canon fodder/pawns.

Lock em all away, make examples of them I say.

+1

Wil Apolinario said,
LOL people love to defend criminals.

I believe in the UK your considered and adult at age 18.

The U.S. wants to extradite him and try him in the U.S.

While running an IRC may not be illegal, when its connected to an fbi investigation I'm sure some of those rules/laws change.


Doesn't matter if he is not a leader of lulz, the more lower level hackers get arrested the less other new ones will take the risk, leaving little to no one for these lulz guys to hide behind. Funny people think they are joining a cause they are just being used as canon fodder/pawns.

Lock em all away, make examples of them I say.

Unfortunately this will probably happen as when the US wants to extradite a criminal from the UK, it usually happens without any evidence having to be provided. The fact that it's not reciprocal the other way around outlines just how flawed the extradition treaty between the two countries is.

Shame, they're living on borrowed time anyway. Wonder if they can beat the champion of hide n' seek that is Bin Laden?

GollyJeeWizz said,

That's what all hackers tell themselves, then the FBI knocks on their door in the middle of the night.

Groups like this will always continue to survive. If he get caught, a new group will come out and cause more havoc.

Also, don't be foolish. It doesn't have to be the FBI. I know us people in the US are great and all but most likely these guys are oversees.

No matter that they caught the leader or not. The rest of the group has to live each day to look over their shoulders all the times.

"The good news everybody - Ryan has little to do with LulzSec besides running IRC".
The bad news for Ryan is that this is an admission that he does have something to do with it...

gb8080 said,

The bad news for Ryan is that this is an admission that he does have something to do with it...

He ran an IRDd, that's not a crime nor something to be arrested over. He should sue the UK police for harassment.

Edit: also if he does get compensated for this abuse of police powers the only person that pays is "Joe Nobody" that pays taxes.

bits said,

He ran an IRDd, that's not a crime nor something to be arrested over. He should sue the UK police for harassment.

Edit: also if he does get compensated for this abuse of police powers the only person that pays is "Joe Nobody" that pays taxes.

Maybe he's only brought in for questioning...

bits said,

He ran an IRDd, that's not a crime nor something to be arrested over. He should sue the UK police for harassment.

Edit: also if he does get compensated for this abuse of police powers the only person that pays is "Joe Nobody" that pays taxes.

following that logic, if you run a IRCD for Al-Qaeda members you wont be doing any crime.

jingarelho said,

following that logic, if you run a IRCD for Al-Qaeda members you wont be doing any crime.

Indeed. Similarly, following that logic, getaway drivers can say "I never went into the bank, I didn't rob it, I was just driving my friends away in my car, driving isn't a crime!". Sure.
In short, the context matters. Ryan wasn't just running IRC, he was allegedly running it for the wrong people.

gb8080 said,

Indeed. Similarly, following that logic, getaway drivers can say "I never went into the bank, I didn't rob it, I was just driving my friends away in my car, driving isn't a crime!". Sure.
In short, the context matters. Ryan wasn't just running IRC, he was allegedly running it for the wrong people.

He could plead ignorance and say he didn't realise they were using it for illegal activities.
What's the network name? If he had the sense to call it something normal like chatnet or something he could probably say he wasn't aware of what was going on.

But if they have chat logs of him conversing with the members he's pretty much out of luck.

Tpiom said,

Maybe he's only brought in for questioning...

When the FBI is involved they have more planned than just questioning. He just better hope they don't turn him over to the CIA.

Even though he may not directly be a member of LulzSec, just him running their IRC network ties him into the whole shebang. The FBI could care less if you are actually a member of a hacking group. Even if you're just a messenger you're a member in their eyes.

Far as I've been reading so far, they arrested someone that was just "there".
I guess Ryan has been under surveilance for a few months now, and at the slightest little thing they took him, he has probably anything to do with what LulzSec has been doing but they might try to squeeze him like an orange to extract information from him. Hopefully, he knows nothing. The authorities are still doing a **** poor job. Got the wrong dude, spread the "leader" word (as if), and blame him for what he hasn't been doing. I think I've seen this movie before, but then again, I've been watching way to many movies.

Lulz FTW, i've been saying.

[quote=Searches were also conducted at the residency of the teenager [/quote]
Why, was he an ambassador or equivalent?
Perhaps searches were performed at his 'residence'. Or better just to say "His home was searched.."

Lulz @ the government thinking they can track them down that easily.

I wonder if he'll get in deep trouble? He was only operating (moderating?) the IRC for LulzSec.

Either way, hopefully LulzSec does something to help him out.

MidTxWRX said,
Lulz @ the government thinking they can track them down that easily.

I wonder if he'll get in deep trouble? He was only operating (moderating?) the IRC for LulzSec.

Either way, hopefully LulzSec does something to help him out.

Yeah, like what? Actually get out of their basements and break him out? Get real; these kids are useless.

Xenosion said,

Yeah, like what? Actually get out of their basements and break him out? Get real; these kids are useless.

Is it supposed to be some sort of "taunt" to call them kids/script kiddies? I have yet to meet a "kid" that can do something like this.

I guess we'll see what happens. I'm sure you know what Anon did for Geohotz. I'm sure LulzSec will do something for this guy.

MidTxWRX said,

Is it supposed to be some sort of "taunt" to call them kids/script kiddies? I have yet to meet a "kid" that can do something like this.

I guess we'll see what happens. I'm sure you know what Anon did for Geohotz. I'm sure LulzSec will do something for this guy.

They are kids... arrogant, stupid kids who think they're worth something when they're really not.

If, as they claim, they want to show companies the error of their ways and prompt them into securing their information, then they would send a list of the passwords to the company, not release them into the wild.

I personally am not scared in the slightest that they're seizing so many accounts. My Facebook, email etc is just a means to keep in touch with people. I can still keep in touch with people face to face or on my phone.

They are a bunch of idiotic kids and don't deserve all of this media attention.

..."lulz"

The sad thing is, after all this is over... LulzSec won't have achieved anything, maybe then they'll look back and think 'was it worth it?'

Last Twit from LulzSec : "Seems the glorious leader of LulzSec got arrested, it's all over now... wait... we're all still here! Which poor ****** did they take down?"

Whats the bets that if he is some hacker mastermind that he will be quietly squirrelled away, and the next we hear (if at all) he'll be heading up some super secret government hacker/security group.

Slugsie said,
Whats the bets that if he is some hacker mastermind that he will be quietly squirrelled away, and the next we hear (if at all) he'll be heading up some super secret government hacker/security group.

None. Now step out of your movie and join us in the real world.

DrunkenBeard said,

None. Now step out of your movie and join us in the real world.

Spoil sport, it's much more fun in here.

IRC operator is not part of the any group unless it's private IRC server. But the are many people running IRC servers and even more having high management accounts. Rian probably will be released as there will be no evidence of him doing attacks.

Do I see extradition to the US in his future?
If he is the one then screwed over many US companies and parts of the US government.

Good to hear they got one of 'em at least. 6 more to go, eh?
IRC operator or not, they basically confirmed the takedown.

GreyWolf said,
Good to hear they got one of 'em at least. 6 more to go, eh?
IRC operator or not, they basically confirmed the takedown.

Yup..Just like how killing Osama brought a 100% end to terrorism right? 1 guy != taking down the entire group.

quoting from their irc channel.

<dotC> anonesc esc
<dotC> "The good news everybody: Ryan has little to do with #LulzSec besides running IRC. All 6 members of @LulzSec are fine and safe." #AntiSec

MidnightDevil said,
quoting from their irc channel.

Interesting... But maybe he can give up them? But he probably doesn't know anything.

MidnightDevil said,
quoting from their irc channel.

Liars. They're covering tracks. The kid is part of it and if they admit they lost a team member to the authorities, they become weaker. They know IRC is being watched, so they're pretending it's not important. This is pathetic. Can't wait to see these losers get what's coming to them

As they say it, for the lulz...I would never risk ruining my life behind bars ASSUMING that I had the skills they had...What a waste of youth, talent and life!

The lulz continues

MountainKing said,
As they say it, for the lulz...I would never risk ruining my life behind bars ASSUMING that I had the skills they had...What a waste of youth, talent and life!

The lulz continues

Well, this is the only funny story related to these morons so far, so I for one hope he is the guy they say he is! hahahahaha!

MountainKing said,
As they say it, for the lulz...I would never risk ruining my life behind bars ASSUMING that I had the skills they had...What a waste of youth, talent and life!

The lulz continues

When there is so much ore you could be doing with your life hacking is a total waste.

Scutley said,
Looks like he will be working with the government in a few weeks.

Hah doing what, showing them how to DDOS a IP or go to some of the security bulletin sites to exploit 0 day holes? I think not...

xendrome said,

Hah doing what, showing them how to DDOS a IP or go to some of the security bulletin sites to exploit 0 day holes? I think not...

The DDoS is childish and unhelpful, however some of the 'real' hacks however clearly show they(and he) know a thing or two about security. While some of exploits may have been zero-day, SQL Injection is hardly so.

The govt could really use his help... or more likely, continue to have a lack of serious security.

xendrome said,

Hah doing what, showing them how to DDOS a IP or go to some of the security bulletin sites to exploit 0 day holes? I think not...

How do you know he didn't find the exploit himself?

UseLess said,

The DDoS is childish and unhelpful, however some of the 'real' hacks however clearly show they(and he) know a thing or two about security. While some of exploits may have been zero-day, SQL Injection is hardly so.

The govt could really use his help... or more likely, continue to have a lack of serious security.

SQL injection however is very very easy to prevent, if not it is very easy to exploit. The fact that there are still sites vulnerable to this is mindblowing. None of the attacks have shown any real talent or modesty. They are a bunch of kids who have no real idea of what they are doing and are just being a big nuissance

xendrome said,

Hah doing what, showing them how to DDOS a IP or go to some of the security bulletin sites to exploit 0 day holes? I think not...

To give up information about his friends.

Well they may have found him but that's not to say they'll have sufficient evidence to bring a trial against him. Hopefully he was smart enough to encrypt his data and denies any involvement.

LordBattleBeard said,
Well they may have found him but that's not to say they'll have sufficient evidence to bring a trial against him. Hopefully he was smart enough to encrypt his data and denies any involvement.

Even if he did encrypt his data. I'm Sure it will be cracked by the Police.

Gothic_Rebel said,

Even if he did encrypt his data. I'm Sure it will be cracked by the Police.

What makes you think that the police would be able to crack it? Albeit he is only the IRC operator, he still obviously has enough skill that Lulzsec recruited him. Say he has a 128-bit encryption. That's still going to take forever to crack. This is all of course under speculation that he has encrypted it.

Brennon Miller said,

What makes you think that the police would be able to crack it? Albeit he is only the IRC operator, he still obviously has enough skill that Lulzsec recruited him. Say he has a 128-bit encryption. That's still going to take forever to crack. This is all of course under speculation that he has encrypted it.

Heh I seriously doubt if he did encrypt, he would refuse to divulge the decryption key, refusing this in the UK is a criminal act (Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act <RIPA>) and comes with a hefty prison sentence, he will squeal, ask for his mommie and divulge EVERYTHING he knows, including any decryption algorithms. Its called self preservation (and wanting to keep his retentiveness of his backside)

I believe the UK has different laws, and I think any encryption over there requires you give them the key or you get locked up no matter what. But I could be wrong.

Brennon Miller said,

What makes you think that the police would be able to crack it? Albeit he is only the IRC operator, he still obviously has enough skill that Lulzsec recruited him. Say he has a 128-bit encryption. That's still going to take forever to crack. This is all of course under speculation that he has encrypted it.

Brennon Miller said,

What makes you think that the police would be able to crack it? Albeit he is only the IRC operator, he still obviously has enough skill that Lulzsec recruited him. Say he has a 128-bit encryption. That's still going to take forever to crack. This is all of course under speculation that he has encrypted it.
I think anyone can operate an IRC channel. If he is a loyal person he wont rat out any of the other guys.

Mando said,

Heh I seriously doubt if he did encrypt, he would refuse to divulge the decryption key, refusing this in the UK is a criminal act (Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act <RIPA>) and comes with a hefty prison sentence, he will squeal, ask for his mommie and divulge EVERYTHING he knows, including any decryption algorithms. Its called self preservation (and wanting to keep his retentiveness of his backside)
Hefty prison sentence? I think not. Here's a case which put that law to the test:
http://www.independent.co.uk/n...er-pc-password-2098817.html
In that case the guy got 4 months.

So for the sake of argument lets say this IRC op did infact encrypt his files, to have gone to those lengths he probably has something to hide. Something that could very well land him in prison for longer than 4 months, will he divulge the password? I don't think so.

firey said,
hopefully this won't stop lulzsec.

agreed. Also, if they're anything like Anon, member wise, they'll continue on anyways and get someone else in as their "leader"

presence06 said,

agreed. Also, if they're anything like Anon, member wise, they'll continue on anyways and get someone else in as their "leader"


Presence06 and Firey... Read the whole article??

Alladaskill17 said,

Presence06 and Firey... Read the whole article??

They posted before the article was updated with new information.

Spirit Dave said,

What? Are you thick in the head?


I would not be surprised one bit of some of the posters here are members of Lulzsec. Thats the only reason someone would support what they have done.

jd100 said,

I would not be surprised one bit of some of the posters here are members of Lulzsec. Thats the only reason someone would support what they have done.

Really? Well I am not a member and I support what they ahve done on some level. I would prefer that they public dont release private info to the public. But should contact site admis and relese it to them.

TechieXP said,
But should contact site admis and relese it to them.

This is exactly what they should but don't ever do. They are doing this for personal gratification and twisted humour in their own gawky little circle. Nothing more. They are making a name for themselves in geek communities but with fame comes ego, and it just makes them want more and believe their own hype.

I will stress here that the claims the teenager is the leader of LulzSec at this stage have not been confirmed, thus he is the alleged leader

Tim Schiesser said,
I will stress here that the claims the teenager is the leader of LulzSec at this stage have not been confirmed, thus he is the alleged leader
I haven't seen anywhere say that it was the leader other than on the Neowin forums. The BBC ticker claims that he is behind the group, but then don't mention anything of the sort in the article...

AnthonySterling said,
Interesting to see the Police Force release a statement calling a 19 year old a teenager; he's an adult, and will be prosecuted as one.

Erm teenage != child @ 19 years old. Your an adult but still a teenager.

AnthonySterling said,
Interesting to see the Police Force release a statement calling a 19 year old a teenager; he's an adult, and will be prosecuted as one.

How do you think you spell 19?

AnthonySterling said,
Interesting to see the Police Force release a statement calling a 19 year old a teenager; he's an adult, and will be prosecuted as one.

Oh, good grief. You can be a teenager and still be legally classified as adult. "Teenager" is simply a term---OBviously---that refers to someone whose age falls in the 13 to 19 range. Duh.

AnthonySterling said,
My point being, that they chose to use the word "teenager" as opposed to "adult" in their press statement.

No, they actually refer to him as "a 19 year old man" initially. The "teenager" reference comes later on in the release.

ZeroHour said,

Erm teenage != child @ 19 years old. Your an adult but still a teenager.

At 19 you re no longer a child you are an adult and should be charged as such. At what would you say a person should be responsible for your actions, 60?

Ian Betteridge said,

No, they actually refer to him as "a 19 year old man" initially. The "teenager" reference comes later on in the release.

Hi Ian,

I believe they've changed their original statement (title at least).

Anthony.

****mire said,

At 19 you re no longer a child you are an adult and should be charged as such. At what would you say a person should be responsible for your actions, 60?

You missed the point completely, he's being charged as an adult but they used the word teenager because HE IS a teenager

AnthonySterling said,
Interesting to see the Police Force release a statement calling a 19 year old a teenager; he's an adult, and will be prosecuted as one.

Depending on the seriousness of what they can charge him with and the information he can provide the result might be diversion (basically 'second chance') with some PD involving several hundred hours of community service - that is assuming however that prosecutors don't politicise the whole thing.

****mire said,

At 19 you re no longer a child you are an adult and should be charged as such. At what would you say a person should be responsible for your actions, 60?

Charging someone as a adult is a legal distinction. For example, you can't charge someone as a "teenager."

AnthonySterling said,
Interesting to see the Police Force release a statement calling a 19 year old a teenager; he's an adult, and will be prosecuted as one.

I think it's mostly b/c:
1. Gets press and populace attention
2. They don't want to hear people complaining "OH, HE'S STILL A YOUNG ADULT MAKING MISTAKES!"
3. It will sound better for them if they can't lay charges, to say "The teenager turned out to be fine" instead of "The adult in question turns out to be a responsible member of society".

AnthonySterling said,
Interesting to see the Police Force release a statement calling a 19 year old a teenager; he's an adult, and will be prosecuted as one.

Nine...wait for it... TEEN...TEENAGER....TEEN=TEEN?

AnthonySterling said,
Interesting to see the Police Force release a statement calling a 19 year old a teenager; he's an adult, and will be prosecuted as one.

ThirTEEN
ForTEEN
FifTEEN
SixTEEN
SevenTEEN
EighTEEN
NinTEEN

Just because some states allow buying cigareets at 18 or drinking at 18 doesn't make you an adult. 21 is the legal adult age. There are 19 year old graduating from school this year.

Young adult? Acceptable. But not an adult.

TechieXP said,

ThirTEEN
ForTEEN
FifTEEN
SixTEEN
SevenTEEN
EighTEEN
NinTEEN

Just because some states allow buying cigareets at 18 or drinking at 18 doesn't make you an adult. 21 is the legal adult age. There are 19 year old graduating from school this year.

Young adult? Acceptable. But not an adult.

In England, 18 years is the legal age.