FBI informer Hector Xavier Monsegur aids in arrest of LulzSec hackers

Authorities in the US, UK and Republic of Ireland have arrested seven suspected members of hacktivist group LulzSec, including Hector Xavier Monsegur, who helped investigators

Authorities in the US, UK and Republic of Ireland have arrested seven suspected hacktivist group members, including leading LulzSec member Hector Xavier Monsegur, who helped investigators.

Hackers claiming to be part of LulzSec have been linked to 14 cyber attacks in May and June 2011 on organisations including Sony Music, the UK Serious Organised Crime Agency, US Senate, and CIA.

LulzSec, an offshoot of hacktivist network Anonymous, is believed to have caused billions of dollars in damage to governments, international banks and businesses.

In August, Hector Xavier Monsegur pleaded guilty to 12 criminal charges related to computer hacking, and subsequently co-operated with the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), according to the BBC.

The FBI said that Monsegur had admitted involvement in cyber attacks against the media groups Sony Pictures Entertainment, Fox Broadcasting Company and the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS).

Jake Davis, 19, from Lerwick, Shetland Islands; Ryan Ackroyd, 25, from Doncaster; and Darren Martyn, 25, from Galway, Ireland were charged with two counts of computer hacking conspiracy.

Donncha O'Cearrbhail, 19, from Birr, Ireland, faces one count of computer hacking conspiracy and a separate allegation that he disclosed an unlawfully intercepted data feed.

Police said an unnamed 17 year-old from south London has been charged with two counts of computer hacking.

The FBI arrested Jeremy Hammond in Chicago in connection with the attack on the Stratfor security think tank carried out in December.

Hammond, described as a member of Anonymous, will be charged in a separate indictment, according to US reports.

According to court documents, Monsegur formed LulzSec last May, acting as a "rooter", identifying vulnerabilities in targeted computer systems.

Although Monsegur is reported to have helped with the latest arrests, the FBI said he faced a sentence of more than 120 years in prison if found guilty on all charges against him.

Some alleged associates of LulzSec are already facing charges elsewhere. UK teenager Ryan Cleary, was arrested in June and charged with being linked to the group. The following month, alleged LulzSec spokesman, Jake Davis, was arrested in Scotland.

The latest arrests mark the most significant strike by law enforcement officials against the amateur hacker groups that have sprung out of Anonymous.

But security industry experts say that while the arrests may mark the end of LulzSec, it would be premature to say the same about Anonymous which, unlike LulzSec, is not a closely linked group and anyone can act in its name.

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