Ryan Cleary, the LulzSec hacker who faces charges on both sides of the Atlantic after hacking into multiple websites belonging to entertainment companies, as well as governmental agencies, banks and other businesses, has plead guilty in a British crown court to some of the crimes he’s been accused of, while denying other allegations.
Cleary, 20, appeared today in Southwark crown court today alongside Jake Davis, a 19 year old from Lerwick in Shetland, off the North Coast of Scotland. Despite only Cleary being named in the US federal court jury indictment issued last week – which mentions three unnamed collaborators – Davis is one of two conspirators in the various attempts to hack the websites of Fox Entertainment Group, Sony Pictures Entertainment, PBS, the British Serious Organized Crime Agency, the CIA and many other organizations as part of attacks carried out under the collective name of LulzSec that have been identified – and, in fact, arrested – by British authorities.
Cleary and Davis both pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy to do an unauthorised act or acts with intent to impair, or with recklessness as to impairing, the operation of a computer or computers, but the two also pleaded not guilty to encouraging or assisting an offence, contrary to section 45 of the Serious Crime Act 2007, and encouraging or assisting offences, contrary to section 46 of the Serious Crime Act 2007. The latter not guilty plea referred to both men denying allegations that they had shared “unlawfully obtained confidential computer data” publicly via sites including PirateBay, LulzSec and PasteBin, with such shared material encouraging similar hacks or other crimes “contrary to the Serious Crime Act.”
Cleary also separately plead guilty to four additional charges, including hacking into computers owned by the US Air Force, located at the Pentagon, over a two year period between January 2009 and June 2011.
The other two conspirators arrested as part of the investigation into Cleary’s crimes – Ryan Ackroyd, 25, of Doncaster and a 17 year old student from South London whose identity is being kept hidden due to his being a minor – also appeared in court today but both men pleaded not guilty to all charges. All four will stand trial in April of next year, with all but Cleary being released on bail after today’s hearing. The reason for the relatively distant court date, the court was told, was the amount of evidence necessary to prepare the case; apparently, it will take 3,000 hours to review the material against Ackroyd alone.
Cleary remains in custody, presumably awaiting a final decision over what – if anything – will happen to him regarding the US indictment against him for these crimes. Last week, it was believed that US authorities were willing to waive any and all extradition policies should Cleary face justice in his home country for the charges.