LulzSec: Hacking the world one step at a time

Lifting the lid on the hacking collective dominating the news

The hacking group LulzSec has hit the headlines multiple times over the past year. Here, we take a look back at the history of the hacking collective giving other hacking group Anonymous a run for their money

Is the end nigh for the hacking collective who famously infiltrated Sega, and claimed to have obtained emails for News International servers, including messages from former News of the World editor Rebekah Brooks?

After the LulzSec leader was revealed as an FBI informant this week which could signal the takedown of the one of the world's most notorious hacking groups, we look back at the birth of LulzSec and how it rose to such notoriety.

Born: May 2011
With a name (short for “Lulz Security”) that suggests a departure from Anonymous’ high-minded hacktivism, it’s overlooked entirely by the media, seen as a group of wannabes.

Ascent to notoriety: May to June 2011
That all changes when LulzSec is eventually fingered as a suspect in the Sony PSN hackings – a raid originally attributed to Anonymous. It then has a pop at Nintendo, the NHS, a porn site – which turns out to have leading figures in the Malaysian government as members – and various gaming sites.

Media frenzy: late June 2011

In the space of a week, LulzSec launches DDoS attacks on sites belonging to the CIA, SOCA – the UK equivalent of the FBI – and the Chinese and Brazilian governments. Someone also claims on the group’s behalf to have stolen UK census data, although this turns out to be a hoax. Ryan Cleary, an alleged associate of the group, is arrested in Essex.

Dead: June 26 2011

Signalling an end to “50 days of Lulz”, the group announces its end, claiming to have grown bored of all this high-profile hacking. It certainly isn’t worried about rival hackers turning on it, or the fuzz arresting them, oh no no. Its final words: “Our crew of six wishes you a happy 2011, and a shout-out to all of our battlefleet members… across the globe.”

Resurrected: July 17th 2011

Just when we thought we had seen the last of LulzSec, just days before the News International owner Rupert Murdoch was set to be questioned in Parliament over the hacking furore surrounding the now defunct News of the World, the hacking group attacked the Times and the Sun websites.

Initially re-directing Sun website visitors to a mock news page claiming that Rupert Murdoch had been found dead, it soon began to send users to the LulzSec Twitter homepage which listed such comments as, "TheSun.co.uk now redirects to our twitter feed. Hello, everyone that wanted to visit The Sun! How is your day? Good? Good!"