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Self-professed leader of Lulzsec arrested in Australia

24 year-old faces up to 10 years in jail if convicted on hacking charges

A 24 year-old Australian citizen who claimed to be the leader of disbanded hacktivist collective Lulzsec has been arrested on hacking charges, facing up to ten years in jail if convicted.

The man has not been named, but has apparently given police reason to understand that he was the de-facto leader of the Lulzsec group: a splinter group which formed from Anonymous after some members felt that Anonymous had deviated from its original cause. The man, reports the New York Times, was tracked down by police after an Australian government website came under attack earlier this year.

"The A.F.P. has zero tolerance for this kind of behavior," said the Australian Federal Police's cybercrime head Glen McEwen. "There were no denials of his claims of being the leader.

"The A.F.P. believes this man's skill sets and access to this kind of information presented a considerable risk to Australian society."

The unnamed suspect is believed to have operated under the screen-name Aush0k and had frequently asserted himself as the leader of Lulzsec in the group's online chat and forums.

The group claimed responsibility for a number of attacks on companies, websites and government agencies during a rash of hacking events in 2011, including assaults on Minecraft, Eve, League of Legends, Nintendo, Sony and Bethesda.

Lulzsec officially disbanded in June 2011 following the arrest of Ryan Cleary, who was alleged to have been involved with the group. A message released at the time claimed that it was originally intended that Lulzsec would only be in existence for 50 days.

Following the dispersal of the group a spate of arrests, including then leader Hector Xavier Monsegur, led to a number of guilty pleas by defendants over the hacking of Sony, including the capitulation of Cleary himself. More members of the group pleaded guilty earlier this month.

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Dan Pearson