Teenager Questioned Over Links to International Hacking Ring Faces Extradition to US

Police believe the teenager is connected to hacking groups Anonymous and LulzSec.

The teenager was arrested in south London amid a new wave of internet attacks. He remained in custody overnight but is currently out on bail.

Police believe he is connected to the notorious hacking groups Anonymous and LulzSec which have been blamed for a string of attacks on organizations including the CIA, the US Senate and the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA).

The teenager, who was held under the Computer Misuse Act, reportedly goes by the online user-name Tflow. Tflow is allegedly a high ranking member of the online hacking group Lulzsec. However, there is some speculation whether or not the teen is in fact Tflow. Members of the hacking group Anonymous contest that it was Tflow who was arrested, while Fox News confirms that it was Tflow.

Scotland Yard’s specialist cyber-crime unit acted in cooperation with the FBI, which arrested 14 people for allegedly mounting a cyber-attack on PayPal’s website. Dutch police also made four arrests.

Anonymous targeted the online payment specialist in retaliation for withdrawing its services from WikiLeaks after it released thousands of classified US State Department cables last November. Members bombarded the website with traffic in an attempt to overwhelm its servers and force it offline.

The FBI arrests are the first in the United States since the international investigation of the group of so called “hacktivists” was launched last year.

The probe has since widened to cover LulzSec, a smaller and less overtly political group that splintered from Anonymous in April and embarked on a two-month spree of cyber-attacks.

The 14, including 11 men and two women aged between 20 and 42, were arrested in Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, the District of Columbia, Florida, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Mexico and Ohio. The court withheld the identity of one individual. There were two further cyber-crime arrests in the US, unrelated to PayPal.

Last month, Ryan Cleary, 19, from Essex, was arrested on suspicion of attempting to hack into the website of SOCA. He was charged with a string of cyber-attacks on UK-based sites before being released on conditional bail.

The teenager, who has since been diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, is also wanted for questioning in the US over a cyber-attack on the Facebook website and could face extradition even if tried and convicted of crimes in the UK.

He is being represented by Karen Todner, the solicitor for Gary McKinnon, a hacker who has been fighting extradition to the US for six years, who said that she hopes the Foreign Office will have “learned lessons” from her client’s case, and that Mr. Cleary will be dealt with in the UK.

After Mr Cleary’s arrest, LulzSec announced it would disband. But the group re-emerged this week to claim credit for hacking the website of The Sun newspaper and publishing a spoof story that claimed Rupert Murdoch was dead.

Anonymous has claimed responsibility for attacks against corporate and government websites all over the world.

The group also claims to have disrupted the websites of Visa and MasterCard in December when the credit card companies stopped processing donations to WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange.

More than 60 people allegedly linked to either or both groups have now been arrested worldwide, including eight in Britain. Scotland Yard’s Police Central e-Crime Unit previously arrested five in January, one in April and one in June.

The 16-year-old who is allegedly Tflow could face extradition to the United States.

The majority of this article was written by Victoria Ward and Christopher Williams and published by The Telegraph on July 21, 2011.

To find additional global criminal news, please read The Global Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN List Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.

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