Hacking Case Study


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What happened?

Ryan Cleary, aged 19, was described as a hermit, recluse and a loner. He was accused of 5 hacking offences including attacks on the Serious and Organised Crime Agency website in the UK and also attacks on the CIA and US senate.

He was arrested at his home in Essex as part of a joint investigation by Scotland Yard and the FBI.

He was accused of taking part in a distributed denial of service (DDoS), which cripple websites with a coordinated assault of overwhelming requests for data.

He was also accused of attacking other websites and creating a remote control network of computers known as a Botnet, to carry out the attacks.

He was thought to be the leader of Lulzsec, which was a group claiming responsibility for cyber-attacks in the UK and US, including those on computer gaming giants Sony & Nintendo. The group was believed to be behind the theft of 77 million Sony PlayStation customers personal information, including bank details and encouraging people to take revenge.

Lulzsec is said to be linked to WikiLeaks whistle-blowers- which is a splinter group of Anonymous.

Ryan Cleary, who was excluded from two schools for disruptive behaviour, is believed to have been named as a hacker via a rival hacking group publishing his personal details.

Police described how they had seized a "Mind Boggling" amount of information from his IT equipment. Ryan’s mother told how he had a history of mental illness, suffered from agoraphobia, but was highly intelligent. She also added that she believed he was playing computer games in his room.

Messages that appeared on the Lulzsec website, whilst Cleary was in custody, suggest that whilst he was a lynch pin, he was one of many users.

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