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Alleged LulzSec hacker ‘Topiary’ named, charged with cybercrimes

LulzSec-Arrested-UK-Ryan-Cleary
Image used with permission by copyright holder

A British court has released on bail alleged Lulz Security hacker Jake Davis, 18, who allegedly goes by the handle “Topiary,” reports the Guardian. Davis, who police say acted as a spokesman for the prolific hacker group and ran the @LulzSec Twitter account, was arrested last Wednesday on suspicion that he was involved in a variety of cybercrimes under the UK’s Computer Misuse Act, the Serious Crime Act, and the Criminal Law Act.

Earlier today, police charged Davis with conspiring to carry out a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack on the Serious Organised Crime Agency, a British law-enforcement organization similar to the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the United States. Davis was also charged with encouraging others to carry out illegal activity and two counts of conspiracy.

Both the @LulzSec Twitter account, as well as @atopiary, the account believed to be Davis’ personal feed, have been silent since last week.

After the arrest of Davis, who was not named until days after his apprehension in the UK’s remote Shetland Islands, a variety of reports indicated that the police had nabbed the wrong man. Some in the hacker community claim the real “Topiary” — the man who played an integral role in LulzSec — is actually a 23-year-old Swede named Daniel Sandberg, not Davis. Sandberg, reports claim, adopted the name “Topiary” in an attempt to throw the authorities off his trail. The arrest of Davis, they say, is the result of this misinformation campaign.

Despite these claims, UK police tell the Financial Times that they are 100 percent certain that they arrested the person who they intended to apprehend. They did, however, issue a correction in the case: the age of the arrested individual was originally said to be 19, and they have corrected that to Davis’ age of 18-years-old.

Police also questioned — but did not arrest — a 17-year-old in connection with the case. The Daily Mail reports that the teenager is Jake’s younger brother, Josh. Because of his age, police would not confirm the name of the 17-year-old.

Davis’ arrest follows the apprehension of another suspected hacker, Ryan Cleary, 19, as well as a 16-year-old, both of whom are set to appear in court in “late August,” according to Scotland Yard.

In the US, authorities recently arrested 16 individuals believed to be part of the hacker group Anonymous, which is closely related to LulzSec and likely contains many of LulzSec’s key members.

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Andrew Couts
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