Arik Hesseldahl

Recent Posts by Arik Hesseldahl

LulzSec Goes All Wikileaks on Arizona State Cops

The increasingly brash hacker group LulzSec released what it says is only the first of many “payloads” to the Internet today: A cache of documents taken from servers belonging to the Arizona Department of Public Safety.

The release, some 446 megabytes of documents that are considered sensitive, is intended, the group says, as a retaliation for a controversial Arizona state law that makes it legal for police officers to question anyone they suspect of being an illegal immigrant. The documents were released via the BitTorrent tracker site The Pirate Bay. More such releases are coming, LulzSec said.

“We are targeting AZDPS specifically because we are against SB1070 and the racial-profiling anti-immigrant police state that is Arizona,” the group said in its latest statement.

LulzSec had been promising that it would release its first Payload on Friday; it was announced on Twitter not long after midnight London time. Their typical pattern suggests they’re active during the night and early morning hours U.K. time, making the fact that Scotland Yard arrested a 19-year old linked to the group all the more interesting.

The release followed a day during which a rival group claimed to have attacked and defaced a Web site said to belong to a LulzSec member. The other group of hackers, calling itself TeaMp0isoN — or, in English, Team Poison — a group with a long history of defacing Web sites going back to mid-2009. Fox News managed to interview someone with that group, who called LulzSec a bunch of “script kiddies,” an epithet meant to convey the idea that for all the media attention it has attracted in recent weeks, LulzSec’s actual hacking skills aren’t terribly impressive.

The group defaced a Web site belonging to someone in the Netherlands they say is a member of LulzSec and are on a campaign to name LulzSec members and out them to police. As always, their claims are impossible to vet. But they do suggest that all the media noise that LulzSec is making is starting to grate on other members of the so-called hacker underground. Team Poison isn’t the first to express such sentiment. A group calling itself Web Ninjas has sought to expose the people it says are LulzSec members. And another possibly connected person or group tried to do the same thing before that, and even claimed an arrest that hadn’t occurred.


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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik