Today, the FBI announced that they had found and arrested the hackers behind LulzSec, a group that had spent the latter half of 2011 shutting down large web sites and causing what may end up being billions of dollars in damages on a whim. The arrests took place as early as last June when the Bureau brought in Hector “Duck Face” Monsegur (above) to serve as a double agent and track down the others in the group. As Sabu, leader of LulzSec, Hector now faces up to 124 years in prison for his crimes, all committed for the lulz. But with this massive operation now out of the way and some of the most vile hackers known on the internet now in custody, where does that leave us?
I’m not sure how smart the members of LulzSec thought they were, but they were obviously high on ego for believing that they, a half-dozen loosely-connected members of the 4chan-inspired Anonymous, could evade capture indefinitely when the world’s most powerful police forces were working to track them down. Seriously. Anonymous started innocently enough to picket Scientology churches around the world after a crazy Tom Cruise video leaked, but over time, they began to pick on larger targets with little more than a pithy, vocoded statement to justify their disruptions.
As someone used to internet culture, it was odd to see the group, which was really ‘all about the lulz’, become a cold, malicious entity that struck out, most aggressively as the group LulzSec, to take down sites from Sony, Fox, and Bethesda. What seemed like an interesting joke became serious very fast. While Anonymous will continue to exist on its own nebulous means, it’s obvious that nothing will be quite the same now that key members of LulzSec are behind bars. In turn, who knows what effect this will have on 4chan, the site that started the entire movement. The question remains as to who will be the next group of ballsy hackers to take up the throne that Sabu leaves behind? Will any group be as successful as LulzSec was knowing that their capture is inevitable?
I think the average media company exec can rest a little easily now, but who knows how long the silence will last.
Image credit: Fox News