* Hackers damaged company networks, stole passwords
* News International, Sony, CIA among those targeted
By Li-mei Hoang
LONDON, May 16 A group of British hackers who
"ran riot" causing millions of dollars of damage to computer
networks run by Sony, the CIA and other agencies were
sentenced to jail terms on Thursday.
Police said four men, members of the hacking collective
known as "LulzSec", put thousands of internet users' personal
data at risk through their high-profile cyber attacks in 2011.
The defendants, three in their twenties and one aged 18,
cost Sony $20 million in revenue during an online crime spree
that they boasted about on Twitter, behind their online monikers
ViraL, Kayla, Topiary, and tFlow, the London court heard.
Judge Deborah Taylor said the group had "wreaked havoc and
destruction, hiding behind aliases in the safety of their own
bedrooms whilst seeking maximum publicity".
Among other attacks, the group hacked into Pentagon
computers, crashed the CIA's website, stole millions of items of
private individuals' data such as passwords and user names and
posted them online on websites such as Pirate Bay.
They also hacked into the computer systems of Rupert
Murdoch's News International and posting a fake story purporting
to be from Britain's top-selling Sun tabloid announcing that
Murdoch had committed suicide.
Ryan Cleary was jailed for 32 months, Ryan Ackroyd for 30
months and Jake Davis for two years. Mustafa Al-Bassam, the only
teenager in the group, received a 20-month suspended sentence.
They had all pleaded guilty to a variety of offences.
"After initially being alerted by the FBI to criminal
activity on British soil, we ... quickly began unpicking
LulzSec, who had been running riot," said Detective
Superintendent Charlie McMurdie, head of the British Police
Central e-Crime Unit.
"Today's convictions should serve as a deterrent to others
who use the internet to commit cyber attacks," she added.
Cleary also pleaded guilty to possessing child pornography
and will be sentenced at a later date.