Hacker Gang Jailed for Cyber Attacks on CIA, Senate and U.S. Air Force

Mike O'Brien

Four hackers were sent to jail on Thursday for a series of high-profile cyber attacks on targets such as the CIA and the U.S. Senate.

The four men, who were members of a hacking group called LulzSec, pleaded guilty and were sentenced to up to 32 months in prison.

In 2011, they got into the computer systems of several institutions, including the U.S. Air Force, PBS and Rupert Murdoch’s News International media empire.

The attacks caused websites to crash and led to the publication online of private credit card numbers and email addresses.


Prosecutors said the financial damage caused by the attacks was more than $30 million.

In the case of the CIA, the agency’s website went down for two hours in June 2011. A month later, LulzSec broke into the website of Britain’s Sun newspaper and visitors were redirected to a made-up story about the suicide of its owner Rupert Murdoch.

The case was tried in London. Andrew Hadik, of the Crown Prosecution Service, said: "The actions of these LulzSec hackers were cowardly and vindictive. They boasted of how clever they were with a complete disregard for the impact their actions had on real people’s lives."

The four men were arrested between June and September 2011. One of them was even carrying out an attack on the network of Britain’s Serious Organized Crime Agency when police arrested him, the LA Times reports.

The four Britons, Ryan Ackroyd, 26, Mustafa Al-Bassam, 18, Jake Davis, 20, and Ryan Cleary, 21, all pleaded guilty to hacking charges.

The leader of LulzSec, Hector Monsegur, became an informant for the FBI after he was arrested in the U.S. He awaits sentencing in New York.

Cyber crime will be discussed at IDGA’s Cyber Security and Network Defense summit next month. For full details, go to www.DefenseCyberSecurity.com