James Dunne follows up his Friday post on the Internet group LulzSec, breaking the story of its final operation and declared good-bye to "hacktivism":
The LulzSec crew, having sailed merrily into the waters of hacktivism this spring, has now dumped their treasure overboard and set course for calmer seas, no doubt with a fleet of law enforcement in pursuit.
On Thursday evening, LulzSec released confidential documents from the Arizona State Police. The material covered the state’s controversial immigration law, SB1070, with its "attrition through enforcement" approach.
Friday, the group’s usual day for document release, was relatively quiet compared with previous weeks, with only a solitary release on members of a Peruvian police unit. Yesterday, all seemed normal, with the usual rhetoric on their Twitter feed of "very busy weekend" but ‘the waves treat us well and the breeze is always refreshing".
The files released last night appear to be the user accounts of the cracked NATO bookshop customer database, an archive of AT&T corporate data, and an image establishing that LulzSec has cracked the US Navy's website. Details of accounts of gamers and those on other forums, an output of network data labelled "FBI being silly", and 91 pages of IP addresses whose routers were using default passwords were also included.
So why leave the scene unfinished? Infighting between Lulz’ six declared members is a persistent suggestion. More likely, however, is the reality for internet groups that seize attention and notoriety that law enforcement is not far behind, their pursuit increasing in speed with every new release. This was bound to be the case with an anarchical group like LulzSec, whose doctrine has been to target any and all authority.
Counter attacks on LulzSec have not been limited to the likes of the FBI either. Other hackers, notably "The Jester", are attempting to sink the Lulz ship. If accurate, the report of his unveiling of Lulz’ leader, Sabu, as an IT consultant from New York is a likely reason for the group’s exit.
Or the exit could be another example of the group's theatrics and comedic MO, as LulzSec declared it had achieved the aims of AntiSec "for the past 50 days". As one commenter noted last night, "They HAD to vanish. There HAS to be a return."
The significance of Lulz’ departure is debatable. Some hacktivists and Internet pundits are declaring good riddance to these "script kiddies". On the other hand, their surge of popularity, with almost 275,000 followers on Twitter, may garner support for the activities of affiliated group Anonymous, enjoying the "selfless entertainment" provided by Lulz with a more clearly defined cause.
And questions remain over the claims by LulzSec, notably over data supposedly taken from Britain’s national census and from the International Monetary Fund. The strange mix of booty released last night suggests this is the last to come from the group this time around, but given LulzSec’s impact on the on-line infrastructure of governments, we are likely to see the fruits of their labours as other groups such as AnonOps take up the operations.
(And, as we noted Thursday, LulzSec had an effect as groups "race versus one another" for targets. Yesterday news broke that former British Prime Minister Tony Blair's personal contact list had been uploaded by rival hacktivists.)
Fifteen minutes after last night’s LulzSec farewell, nearly 1400 people were downloading the material from The Pirate Bay. That number doubled every 30 minutes until 0100 GMT, when thte number topped out at 10743 peers. In their final 12 hours, LulzSec’s Twitter feed gained an additional 6000 members.
We may not have seen the last of this cyber-ship.