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Arrests in UK and Ireland in connection with Anonymous and LulzSec activity

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Several men have been arrested on hacking charges over the past few days.

A 24 year old man and a 20 year old man, one from Mexborough in South Yorkshire and another from Warminster in Wiltshire, were arrested on a charge of conspiring to commit offences under the Computer Misuse Act 1990.

The Metropolitan police confirmed that the arrests were as part of an ongoing investigation in collaboration with the FBI, South Yorkshire Police and other law enforcement bodies in the UK and overseas. The arrests were confirmed as being into the activities of the hacktivist groups Anonymous and LulzSec.

The arrests were specifically connected with suspected offences conducted under the cover of the online identity 'Kayla'.

However according to Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos, Kayla has ‘presented herself online to be a giggly 16-year-old girl' and has always declined to use Skype to confirm an adolescent female voice. Alongside the likes of Sabu, Topiary and Tflow, Kayla was considered to have been one of the key figures in the LulzSec hacking gang.

DI Mark Raymond from the Police Central e-crime Unit, said: “The arrests relate to our enquiries into a series of serious computer intrusions and online denial-of-service attacks recently suffered by a number of multi-national companies, public institutions and government and law enforcement agencies in Great Britain and the United States.

“We are working to detect and bring before the courts those responsible for these offences, to disrupt such groups, and to deter others thinking of participating in this type of criminal activity.” 

The Metropolitan police also announced the arrest of two British men this week. It confirmed that Christopher Weatherhead from Northampton and Ashley Rhodes from London had been charged with conspiracy to do an unauthorised act in relation to a computer, with intent to impair the operation of any computer or prevent or hinder access to any programme or data held in a computer or to impair the operation of any such programme or the reliability of such data - contrary to Sec 1(1) of the Criminal Law Act 1977.

Previously a 17-year-old from Chester and Peter Gibson, a student from Hartlepool, were charged with the same offence.

Finally, two Irish men have been arrested in connection with hacking of the Fine Gael political party in January. According to RTE News, the teenage men were arrested in Birr, Co Offaly and Galway and the operation is linked to investigations into the Anonymous group.

It was later revealed by breakingnews.ie that the Birr man was Donncha Carroll, the son of Offaly County councillor John Carroll. The two men were later revealed to have been released without charge.

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