NEW YORK – A member of a publicity-seeking hacker group that sabotaged websites over the past two months and is dissolving itself says his group isn’t disbanding under pressure from the FBI or enemy hackers.
“We’re not quitting because we’re afraid of law enforcement,” the LulzSec member said in a conversation with The Associated Press over the Internet voice program Skype. “The press are getting bored of us, and we’re getting bored of us.”
The group’s hacking has included attacks on law enforcement and releases of private data. It said unexpectedly on Saturday it was dissolving itself.
In the Sunday interview, the hacker acknowledged that some of the material being circulated by rivals online – which purports to reveal the hackers’ online nicknames, past histories, and chat logs – was genuine, something he said had proved to be “a distraction.”
He added that three or four of Lulz Security’s members were taking what he called “a breather” and said he was considering giving up cyberattacks altogether.
“Maybe I’ll stop this hacking thing entirely. I haven’t decided,” he said. He said he couldn’t speak for the others’ long-term plans, but said it was possible some of the members would continue to be involved with Anonymous, the much larger and more amorphous hacking group which has targeted the Church of Scientology, Middle Eastern dictatorships, and the music industry, among others.
He said the six-member group was still sitting on a considerable amount of stolen law enforcement files.
“It’s safe to say at this point that they are sitting on a lot of data.”
Although the hacker declined to identify himself publicly, he has verified his membership with Lulz Security by posting a pre-arranged message to the group’s popular Twitter feed.
Lulz Security made its Saturday announcement about disbanding through its Twitter account. That statement gave no reason for the disbandment.
One of the group’s members was interviewed by The Associated Press on Friday, and gave no indication that its work was ending. LulzSec claimed hacks on major entertainment companies, FBI partner organizations, the CIA, the U.S. Senate and a pornography website.
Kevin Mitnick, a security consultant and former hacker, said the group had probably concluded that the more they kept up their activities, the greater the chance that one of them would make some mistake that would enable authorities to catch them. They’ve inspired copycat groups around the globe, he noted, which means similar attacks are likely to continue even without LulzSec.
“They can sit back and watch the mayhem and not risk being captured,” Mitnick said.
As a parting shot, LulzSec released a grab-bag of documents and login information apparently gleaned from gaming websites and corporate servers. The largest group of documents – 338 files – appears to be internal documents from AT&T Inc., detailing its buildout of a new wireless broadband network in the U.S. The network is set to go live this summer. A spokesman for the phone company could not immediately confirm the authenticity of the documents.
In the Friday interview, the LulzSec member said the group was sitting on at least 5 gigabytes of government and law enforcement data from across the world, which it planned to release in the next three weeks. Saturday’s release was less than a tenth of that size.
In an unusual strategy for a hacker group, LulzSec has sought publicity and conducted a conversation with the public through its Twitter account. LulzSec attacked anyone it could for “the lulz,” which is Internet jargon for “laughs.”
Satter contributed from London.