The long arm of the law has reached yet another hacker. Scotland Yard announced today the arrest of alleged hacker, a 19-year-old, who goes by the nickname “Topiary,” and is said to have acted as a key member of the now-infamous hacker group LulzSec, which is closely affiliated with Anonymous.
Topiary’s legal name has not yet been released,
though the anti-LulzSec website LulzSecExposed.com says his name is Daniel Ackerman Sandberg, and that he is originally from Uppsala, Sweden. The site says Topiary also goes by the names Warpstonelord, Hombre de Mundo and Tomtenisse. [See update here]
According to the official announcement on the Scotland Yard website, Topiary was arrested “at a residential address in the Shetland Islands,” which are located in the North Atlantic Ocean, midway between Scotland and Norway. Police are moving transporting him to London, where he will face questioning.
Topiary has been an outspoken proponent of LulzSec, having given multiple interviews to the press about Anonymous’ and LulzSec’s cyber-exploits. He is also widely believed to have been the voice behind the group’s popular Twitter feed.
Days before his arrest, Topiary cleared out his entire personal Twitter account, @atopiary, expect for one tweet, which reads: “You cannot arrest an idea.” The move suggests that Topiary believed that he would be arrested sometime in the near future.
Leaked chat logs show that Topiary has been involved in a wide variety of the Anonymous and LulzSec hacks, including Anonymous’ famous attack against HBGary, as well as the hack of PBS.org, which launched LulzSec into the spotlight back in May.
Topiary’s arrest comes after a string of earlier hacker apprehensions. Law-enforcement agents in the US arrested 16 people suspected of having involvement with Anonymous, 14 of whom allegedly took part in the group’s distributed denial of service (DDoS) “attack” on the website of PayPal after the only payment transaction service stopped processing donations to WikiLeaks following the whistleblowing site’s release of classified US diplomatic cables. The following day, UK authorities arrested five more individuals said to have ties to LulzSec and/or Anonymous.
Just yesterday, Anonymous posted a statement urging supporters to carry out a (legal) boycott of PayPal. The group also insists that DDoS is not a criminal act, but instead a form of digital activism akin to the sit-ins of the 1960s civil rights movement.
Scotland Yard says they have also begun to search the home of a 17-year-old male in Lincolnshire, who is also suspected to have ties to LulzSec. While the teen has not yet been arrested, police say they have taken him in for questioning.