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Is the arrested Shetland Islands man the LulzSec member 'Topiary'?

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A man has been arrested in the Shetland Islands in connection with Anonymous and LulzSec's activity, with rumours circulating that he is the LulzSec spokesperson Topiary.

The Metropolitan Police Service's Central e-Crime Unit (PCeU) announced that it had arrested an 18-year-old man last night.

The Metropolitan Police statement said that the suspect, whose name has not been revealed, allegedly uses the online nickname ‘Topiary' and he was arrested as part of a continuing international investigation into the criminal activity of the so-called ‘hacktivist' groups.

The statement said: “He was arrested under Section 3 of the Computer Misuse Act and Section 1 of the Criminal Law Act 1977 at a residential address in the Shetland Islands. A residential address in Lincolnshire is also being searched. A 17-year-old male is being interviewed under caution at a Lincolnshire police station in connection with the inquiry. He has not been arrested.”

As well as running the LulzSec Twitter feed, Topiary also appeared on the David Pakman Show earlier this year, when he telephoned in via Skype to feud with Shirley Phelps-Roper of the Westboro Baptist Church.

Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos, said: “The truth is that LulzSec and other hacktivist groups have recently been playing an extremely dangerous game, taunting the likes of the FBI and British police with a series of hacks and attacks and believing themselves to be invincible.

“If the arrested man is indeed a key member of the LulzSec gang, it could be the British police who have the last laugh. Interestingly, Topiary deleted all the messages he had previously posted on Twitter recently, replacing them with a simple message ‘You cannot arrest an idea'. Is it possible he saw the writing on the wall?”

However one blog claimed that documents published online last month show that Topiary is 23 years old and from Sweden.

There had been no comment or reference made on the ‘official' LulzSec or Anonymous Twitter feeds to the arrest at the time of writing. The LulzSec website was offline confirming its closing stance that it had no plans to renew the website hosting and asked supporters to make mirrors of material on the website.

However suspected LulzSec leader ‘Sabu' said on Twitter to the Anonymous group that ‘they can arrest one or two of us but they cannot arrest us all. We are a movement spawned from a thought. Keep moving'.

Rik Ferguson, director of security and research at Trend Micro, told SC Magazine that the quick confirmation that the police had arrested the right man made him wonder if this was a clever social engineering trick.

He said: “They published a chat log that suggested that Topiary is Swedish so this is not credible unless they are trying to deliberately mislead people by using social engineering. If this is not the right person then they are making sure that everyone believes that it is the right person.

“I do not know, but it seems strange to come forward and say it is the right person before a court case, why do that? Ryan Cleary was not the right person while Tflow was released on bail last week, so maybe people are getting closer to them.”

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