The Metropolitan Police has issued a statement warning off would-be hacktivists and reminding of them of the law against computer misuse.
Following the recent arrests of Jake Davis, who police suspect to be the LulzSec spokesperson Topiary and Ryan Cleary, the Met said that its investigation into hacktivist groups continues and it wanted to remind people of the law.
In a statement, it said: “Anyone considering accessing a computer without authority should understand that such acts are unlawful and can carry a term of imprisonment. Under UK legislation, it is an offence if a person acts from within the UK upon a computer anywhere else in the world. It is also an offence if someone anywhere else in the world to criminally affect a computer within the UK.”
Section one of the Computer Misuse Act 1990 states that anyone who gains unauthorised access to (or modifies) computer material may be liable to up to two years in prison.
It also says that anyone who gains unauthorised access to a computer and does an act to impair the operation of any computer; to prevent or hinder access to any program or data held in a computer; or to impair the operation of any such program or the reliability of any such data may be imprisoned for up to ten years upon conviction.
Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos, said: “In my opinion, it's a timely warning by the Met, as it comes after a series of arrests of individuals suspected of being involved in Anonymous and LulzSec hacktivist activity. Presumably the UK police are keen that Topiary-supporting hacktivists don't use the internet in a revenge attack.”
Raj Samani, EMEA CTO at McAfee, told SC Magazine that he suspected police wanted to make an example of some people. “There will be some people warned off but others won't be. We have seen some known malware writers get jobs with security companies. In my view there is a case for and a case against and you judge a case on its merit.”