Tuesday saw the news that the FBI had identified and charged six men allegedly behind the hacktivist group LulzSec, which was responsible for attacks and data thefts against organizations ranging from Sony Pictures to security consultants Stratfor to the Irish political party Fine Gael. Who are the men that the FBI says are behind LulzSec's mayhem?
Cook County Sheriff's Department/AP
Jeremy Hammond of Chicago, Ill., is a self-described "hacktivist" who has had several run-ins with the law tied to political and societal protests. According to a 2007 profile in Chicago Magazine, Mr. Hammond at the age of 22 was already "notorious" in Chicago's hacktivist and anarchist community, where he spoke against social inequality and capitalism.
"All conflict comes from social inequality and those who use this to their advantage," Chicago Magazine quotes him as telling a hacktivists meeting. "Our civilization is facing a radical, imminent mass change. The alternative to the hierarchical power structure is based on mutual aid and group consensus. As hackers we can learn these systems, manipulate these systems, and shut down these systems if we need to."
Hammond has multiple convictions, which he generally describes in political terms. He was convicted of hacking into a conservative website, Protest Warrior, in 2005 and stealing credit card information from the site, earning him a two-year sentence in federal prison. He told the FBI that the hack was political, and "would be helping people under the thought of ‘Let's steal from the rich to give to the poor.'" And in 2009, Hammond was sentenced to 18 months probation for tearing down and burning an Olympic banner in Chicago's Daley Plaza, in protest against the city's effort to host the 2016 Olympics.
"I've wanted to play an electronic Robin Hood," Hammond told Chicago Magazine. "If you're going to play this game, you've got to be willing to pay."
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