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UK man charged with attack that shut down SOCA site

Investigation of Ryan Cleary continues

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UK officials have formally accused a 19-year-old man of involvement in Monday's attack on the website of the British Serious Organised Crime Agency and two previous web-based assaults directed at the music industry.

Ryan Cleary was charged with five offenses in all, according to a press release issued Wednesday by the Metropolitan Police. He was arrested Monday night and has remained in police custody pending an investigation into any involvement he had in various high-profile DDoS, or distributed denial-of-service, attacks.

According to police, the Wickford teenager was involved in the DDoS attack on the SOCA website that prompted authorities to temporarily shut it down. The site contained only publicly available information. He also stands accused of participating in similar assaults in October and November against the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) and the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) respectively.

Two additional charges accuse him of helping to construct a botnet for the purposes of mounting DDoS attacks and supplying a botnet to assist in the commission of unspecified offenses.

Cleary was arrested by officers from Scotland Yard, but according to The Telegraph, the investigation into his alleged offenses is “being driven by the FBI.”

The LulzSec hacker collective claimed responsibility for taking down the SOCA website. It has also taken credit for several other attacks, including one that briefly disrupted the website for the Central Intelligence Agency. Although it's impossible to substantiate the claims, speculation has run rampant that Cleary was involved in that attack and possibly a much larger list of computer crimes.

Web searches yield a variety of webpages and online forums that make a variety of serious claims about Cleary. Few if any of them can be independently confirmed. He is scheduled to appear at the City of Westminster Magistrates' Court on Thursday.

Separately, claims from earlier this week that LulzSec stole sensitive UK census data has been labeled a hoax. Which just goes to show that unsubstantiated claims made online can't be taken seriously. ®

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