May 16 (Bloomberg) -- Four members of the LulzSec “hacktivist” group were sentenced to a total of seven years in prison for disrupting websites at Sony Corp., News Corp. and the Central Intelligence Agency.
Ryan Cleary, 21, was sentenced to 32 months in jail by a London judge today, the Crown Prosecution Service said in an e-mailed statement. He hacked and installed or altered files on U.S. Air Force computers. Ryan Ackroyd, 26, was sentenced to 30 months for attacks on Sony and News Corp.’s Twentieth Century Fox.
“The actions of these LulzSec hackers were cowardly and vindictive,” Andrew Hadik, a CPS lawyer, said in the statement. “Companies suffered serious financial and reputational damage.”
Ackroyd, from Mexborough, England, also carried out attacks on the websites of the Arizona State Police, the U.K.’s National Health Service and technology-security company HBGary Inc. between February 2011 and September 2011, prosecutors said.
A senior executive of HBGary “lost his job and had to move his young family because of death threats,” Hadik said.
Aaron Barr, the former Chief Executive Officer of HBGary Federal, resigned from the company following the cyber-attack, a CPS spokesman said. At the time of the hacking Barr told the Financial Times newspaper he planned to reveal the identities of the hackers, according to an article on the Forbes website.
Cleary constructed a network of computers, known as a botnet, which could perform distributed denial of service attacks and direct them to target websites operated by a U.K. web hosting site.
Another man, Jake Davis, 20, will spend two years in jail and Mustafa Al-Bassam, 18, was given a two-year suspended sentence, prosecutors said.
Davis from the Shetland Islands in Scotland, used the name Topiary online and acted as LulzSec’s spokesman. He and Al-Bassam pleaded guilty to disrupting websites at the CIA and the U.K.’s Serious Organised Crime Agency.
Denial-of-service attacks flood computer networks with requests for information until they shut down.
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