The suspected ringleader of Lulzsec has been arrested in a joint operation between Scotland Yard and the FBI. The 19 year old Brit is accused of masterminding the recent spate of cyber-attacks on CIA.gov and a number of games company sites, including Nintendo, Minecraft and Eve Online.
The teenager was apprehended at his home in Wickford, Essex, in a joint operation that could see the suspect extradited to America to face charges, reports Sky News (opens in new tab) .
Update: Lulzsec have tweeted in response to the arrest, saying "seems the glorious leader of LulzSec got arrested, it's all over now... wait... we're all still here! Which poor bastard did they take down?" The suspect has been named by the press as Ryan Cleary, and is thought to be an ex-member of notorious hacking organisation, Anonymous.
Lulzsec have claimed responsibility for a number of recent denial of service attacks on a number of gaming sites, including Minecraft, Eve Online, League of Legends, and The Escapist. Lulzsec took requests for targets on Twitter. Shortly after the Central Intelligence Agency site went down, they tweeted "Tango down - CIA.gov - for the lulz".
The hacker group are one of the key players in a recent storm of cyber-crime that has damaged companies as big as Sony and Nintendo. Anonymous and Gnosis have also been implicated in attacks on Sony Online Entertainment and Eidos respectively.
A Scotland Yard statement says that searching the teenage suspect's home led to "the examination of a significant amount of material."
"The arrest follows an investigation into network intrusions and distributed denial of service attacks against a number of international business and intelligence agencies by what is believed to be the same hacking group," the spokesperson confirmed. The suspect is currently being held in London while evidence is examined.
CVG are reporting that the suspect has been named by British national press as Ryan Cleary, who earlier this year turned on Anonymous, stealing passwords and attacking the AnonOps messageboard servers. Lulzsec have also responded to Cleary's arrest on Twitter , saying "Seems the glorious leader of LulzSec got arrested, it's all over now... wait... we're all still here! Which poor bastard did they take down?"
The Telegraph report that Cleary is being held under the Computer Misuse Act and Fraud Act, and suggest that the arrest was triggered by suspicions that Lulzsec were behind the theft of the 2011 British Census data. Lulzsec have denied this, saying "not sure we claimed to hack the UK census or where that rumour started, but we assume it's because people are stupider than you and I."
"Oh well, just because we want to waste government and local authority investigation time: we hacked every website in the world. Enjoy!"