Four members of the international hacker group LulzSec have been sentenced to jail time for a series of attacks on companies and organizations such as Electronic Arts, Nintendo and the CIA, report The Guardian and BBC News.
All four — Ryan Ackroyd, 26; Mustafa Al-Bassam, 18; Ryan Cleary, 21; and Jake Davis, 20 — are from the U.K. and previously pleaded guilty to a variety of charges. They accessed sensitive data like credit card information through hacking, and then posted it online at file-sharing sites like The Pirate Bay. They also engaged in distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks, using hundreds of thousands of networked computers to crash websites such as that of the CIA.
Ackroyd, whom prosecutors described as the team's ringleader, admitted to stealing information about user accounts from Sony Pictures. After pleading guilty to one count of carrying out an unauthorized act to impair the operation of a computer, Ackroyd was sentenced to 30 months in prison.
Al-Bassam, Cleary and Davis each pleaded guilty to two different charges: hacking and launching cyber-attacks against organizations including the CIA and the U.K.'s Serious Organized Crime Agency. Al-Bassam, who posted pilfered data online, was given a suspended sentence of 20 months' jail time, along with 300 hours of community service. Davis, LulzSec's main publicist, will have to serve two years in a young offender institution.
Cleary gave the team software for the attacks and pleaded guilty to four additional charges, including hacking into computers of the U.S. Air Force and possessing images of child abuse; the sentence for the latter charge will be given later, but he has already been sentenced to the longest prison term of the four, 32 months.
"It's clear from the evidence that they intended to achieve extensive national and international notoriety and publicity," said prosecutor Sandip Patel. "This is not about young immature men messing about. They are at the cutting edge of a contemporary and emerging species of criminal offender known as a cybercriminal."