Bloomberg News

U.K. Teen Charged With Hacking Websites Released on Bail

August 01, 2011

(Updates with Murdoch ‘death’ hoax in first paragraph. For more coverage of News Corp., see {EXT3 <GO>}.)

Aug. 1 (Bloomberg) -- Jake Davis, a British teenager accused of conspiring to create a fake news story claiming Rupert Murdoch had died, was released today on bail with the condition that he doesn’t access the Internet.

Davis, 18, from the Shetland Islands in Scotland, was arrested last week and charged with conspiring to carry out a so-called denial of service attack on computers at the U.K. government’s Serious Organised Crime Agency, London’s Metropolitan Police said in a statement yesterday.

Police said Davis may act as the spokesman for the hacking groups Anonymous and LulzSec and uses the online nickname “Topiary.” LulzSec’s Twitter feed hasn’t posted any comments since his arrest last week. LulzSec has claimed credit for breaking into websites at Sony Corp. and the U.S. Senate, while Anonymous said in April it would wage what it called a cyberwar against Tokyo-based Sony for trying to prevent people from tinkering with PlayStation 3 game consoles.

Davis was also charged with unauthorized access to a computer system, encouraging and assisting offenses, and conspiring with others to violate the Computer Misuse Act. He will be subject to a curfew and can have no direct or indirect access to the Internet. In an attack on the website of News Corp. publication The Sun, visitors were redirected to the false article on the company’s chairman and chief executive officer, Murdoch, according to Davis’s indictment.

Another British teenager, Ryan Cleary, was arrested as part of the investigation into computer hacking on businesses and government agencies in June. Cleary, 19, was accused of being involved in the attack on SOCA, and a similar attack on the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry and the British Phonographic Industry, both of which represent the recording industry.

Cleary is required to live and sleep at his parents’ home address in Essex, England and isn’t allowed to leave without one of them as part of the conditions of bail.

--Editors: Anthony Aarons, Christopher Scinta

To contact the reporter for this story: Kit Chellel in London cchellel@bloomberg.net; Lindsay Fortado in London at lfortado@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Aarons at aaarons@bloomberg.net.


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