* Teen accused of cyberattacks on Sony, Murdoch media group
* Linked to groups targeted by police in 5 countries
(Adds details, background)
By Georgina Prodhan
LONDON, Aug 1 A British teenager charged with
hacking offences and believed to be a leading member of the
Anonymous and LulzSec online activist groups was released on
bail in a London court on Monday on condition he did not use the
Jake Davis, 18, who goes by the online nickname of
"Topiary", was charged with computer attacks on Sony ,
UK crime and health authorities and Rupert Murdoch's UK
newspaper arm News International .
Anonymous and LulzSec members have been arrested in the
United States, Spain, Turkey, Britain and the Netherlands in
recent weeks in a crackdown on attacks on targets seen by the
activists as hostile to Internet freedom of speech.
The arrest of "Topiary" in Scotland's remote Shetland
Islands may be the most significant to date in the global effort
to end the cyber-crime spree by the groups.
Davis, a slight, dark-haired youth who spoke only to confirm
his name and date of birth and suppressed a smile when the
prosecutor struggled to prounouce "LulzSec", was released on
bail under strict conditions.
He will be allowed no Internet access and will live under a
curfew with his mother and brother, who have just moved to
Lincolnshire in eastern England and have not yet arranged a
His lawyer, Gideon Cammerman, said that while Davis had
helped to publicise the work of the cyber activists, there was
no evidence to show he had the expertise to have taken part in
any of the hacks.
"The picture that emerges is not one of a skilled and
practised hacker but of someone who sympathises," he said.
LulzSec and its parent group Anonymous, loose online
collectives of activists, have attracted widespread global media
coverage for their stunts. LulzSec has more than 350,000
followers on Twitter.
The prosecution said on Monday that police had seized a Dell
laptop from Davis's home in Shetland with a 100
gigabyte drive running 16 different virtual computers.
Files found on the computer included details of an attack on
Sony, email addresses and passwords of hundreds of thousands of
members of the public and hundreds of other folders that had not
yet been examined, the prosecutor said.
When police arrived to arrest Davis, his computer screen was
displaying a dialogue box for a single-use email address with a
lifespan of 10 minutes, the prosecution said. Forty other
applications were also running.
The Shetland Islands, off the northeast coast of Scotland,
have some of Britain's poorest Internet connections, with no
superfast broadband availability and an average speed of 5.5
megabits per second, according to telecoms regulator Ofcom.
Davis, who has no previous criminal convictions, is due to
appear for his first trial hearing on August 30 in Southwark
Crown Court, London.
For a Timeline on the hacking group please click on
(Reporting by Georgina Prodhan; Editing by Mark Heinrich)