TECH

LulzSec Hacker Ryan Ackroyd Pleads Guilty To Attacks On NHS, News International

10/04/2013 08:32 BST | Updated 09/06/2013 10:12 BST

A 26-year-old has pleaded guilty to hacking websites of major institutions including the National Health Service, Sony and News International.

Ryan Ackroyd, from Mexborough, South Yorkshire, was due to stand trial charged with taking part in a string of cyber attacks, but today pleaded guilty to one charge of carrying out an unauthorised act to impair the operation of a computer, contrary to the Criminal Law Act 1977.

Southwark Crown Court heard he admitted being a member of hacking group LulzSec, acting as a "hacker" to access websites for Sony, 20th Century Fox, the NHS, Nintendo, the Arizona State Police, and News International, between February and September 2011.

Prosecutor Sandip Patel told the court: "He was the hacker, so to speak, they turned to him for his expertise as a hacker", and said Ackroyd admitted using the persona of a 16-year-old girl Kayla on the site.

He will be sentenced on May 14 and the court heard prosecutors are not planning to pursue other charges against the 26-year-old.

Earlier today, Southwark Crown Court heard that fellow hackers Mustafa Al-Bassam, 18, from Peckham, south London, and Jake Davis, 20, from Lerwick, Shetland, have also now pleaded guilty to hacking and launching cyber attacks on a range of organisations, including the CIA and the Serious Organised Crime Agency.

Ryan Cleary, 21, of Wickford Essex, has pleaded guilty to the same two charges as well as four separate charges including hacking into US air force agency computers at the Pentagon.

The men are said to have carried out distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks on the institutions with other unidentified hackers belonging to online groups such as LulzSec, Anonymous and Internet Feds.

The DDoS attacks they carried out flood websites with traffic, making them crash and rendering them unavailable to users.

To do it, they used a remotely controlled network of "zombie" computers, known as a "botnet", capable of being programmed to perform the attack.

LulzSec is a spin-off of the loosely organised hacking collective Anonymous. Lulz is internet slang that can be interpreted as "laughs", "humour" or "amusement", and Sec refers to "security".