Four members of the LulzSec hacking group have been handed down prison sentences for their prolific, and at times humorous, high-profile hacks on, among others, Sony, the Arizona State Police and the CIA during the summer of 2011.
The group, a splinter from the collective Anonymous hacking group, dubbed its summer as "50 days of LulzSec." It was a summer filled with distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks and digital break-ins on a variety of government and commercial organizations. There was a lot of media coverage of the attacks and a lot of questions around LulzSec and its motivations.
Well, question no more. Jake Davis, facing 24 months in a British Young Offenders institution, said he regrets his role in the hacking spree in an interview explaining his motivation to hack with the BBC.
Davis said he grew up on the Shetland Islands alone after his stepfather died and his mother and brother moved to mainland England. That environment, he said, led him to become a recluse who sought attention the only way he knew how: by going online.
"It was my world, but it was a very limited world. You can see and hear it, but you can't touch the internet," Davis said. "It's a world devoid of empathy - and that shows on Twitter, and the mob mentality against politicians and public figures. There is no empathy."
Davis, who acted as the group's spokesperson and personality, "topiary," said he now regrets 95 percent of the things he typed on the Internet.
Davis, however, wasn't sentenced alone: Ryan "ViraL" Cleary, 21, was sentenced to 32 months; Ryan "kayla" Ackroyd, 26, sentenced to 30 months; and Mustafa "tflow" Al-Bassam, 18, received a 20-month sentence, suspended for two years and 300 hours of community service. Al-Bassam received a reduced sentence due to his age, 16, at the time.
There is, however, a saving grace for the LulzSec members: by charging them with conspiracy to commit fraud, and ruling them not guilty, the UK courts effectively shut off any reasons to have the four hackers extradited to U.S. soil, according to Ars Technica, where they could be held for their attacks against U.S. institutions.
They stole passwords, they stole credit card numbers and now they're being stolen away to prison.