I joined The Madeleine Brand Show today for a radio discussion about the latest LulzSec hijinks, and related hacking news. Listen here.
Here's an overview published by the rogue security prankster group of their attacks so far. One day, it's PBS and porno sites and the FBI. The next, it's the US Senate, and Bethesda Software. Earlier today, Eve Online, Escapist Magazine and Minecraft. The targets seem so diverse, so random—following their Twitter account is like watching a rabid elephant on PCP wearing a top hat rampage through a crowded market with explosive banana diarrhea.
Yesterday, they opened an apparently-untraceable phone switchboard, and invited incoming calls. Jacob Margolis of The Madeleine Brand Show got through, and you'll hear what transpired in the radio segment above. Here's their current outgoing phone message (MP3 Audio), if you call 614-LULZ-SEC and can't get through.
So who are these guys? I don't know. None of the security experts I've spoken to know either. But a few theories are floating around.
I reached out to Joe Menn, FT writer and author of the cybercrime book "Fatal System Error." He wonders if LulzSec might a sort of "elite escape pod" that broke off from Anonymous. There is some evidence that various factions of Anonymous became unhappy with the trend toward politics and righteous actions (going after Iran one day, Ben Bernanke and the Federal Reserve bank the next). Other factions of Anonymous were drifting toward more conventional cybercrime, exploring ways to make money from attacks.
But the people who became LulzSec, the theory goes, really were just "in it for the lulz." They wanted to improve the state of security and have fun by pulling everyone's pants down, and go back to the spirit and fun of earlier 4chan days.
"They certainly do not appear to be in it for the dollars," said Joe.
And no, the Bitcoins they've solicited over Twitter for beer don't count.