LulzSec has disbanded. The group’s stated reason is that its 50 days of existence is enough; the group members’ identities aren’t permanently tied to LulzSec.
As such, they’re quitting and wishing everyone “bon voyage” for the rest of 2011. However, an alternate explanation of why it quit is the growing threats from hacking group TeaMp0isoN, which threatened to reveal the real world identities of LulzSec members.
Regardless of why it disbanded, what did LulzSec really accomplish in its 50 days of existence?
First and foremost, it received unprecedented attention from the media and the public. It even managed to briefly outshine Anonymous, a politically motivated hacking group with years of hactivism under its belt.
For example, the LulzSec Twitter account has 275,000 followers (as of June 26) while the Anonymous account has only 32,000.
A byproduct of this is the elevated public attention hacking in general received. The public now knows that hacking is prevalent and the Internet can be a highly chaotic and unsafe place.
The world now realizes that the majority of websites can be DDOSed down at will. More importantly, online consumer personal data isn’t safe at all. In the course of a few weeks, LulzSec breached and leaked the information of thousands of Internet users.
As a result, the hacking group, more than any other entity or event, taught netizens to never recycle their user passwords.
As far as global impact goes, LulzSec managed to disrupted the online functions of several government entities. It also drew the ire, attention, and resources of global law enforcement officials. Through its leaks, it also managed to expose information on government personnel and embarrass a few of them.
Still, it didn’t really fulfill its stated top priority to “steal and leak…classified government information.”
In 2010, the Wikileaks publication of US diplomatic cables proved the power of disseminating classified information. The leaks were even credited with partially sparking the revolution in Tunisia.
LulzSec seemed to realize this. In its June 19 Operation Anti-Security manifesto, it declared: “It's now or never. Come aboard, we're expecting you... History begins today.” It then listed stealing classified government information as its top priority.
However, to date, even with its final data release, LulzSec never posted any high-impact classified information.
A likely explanation is that the group’s existence was cut short so it didn’t have time to do any of that.
Upon its disbanding, LulzSec could be interpreted as urging others to continue its unfinished work.
It said: “we hope, wish, even beg, that the [Operation Anti-Security] movement manifests itself into a revolution that can continue on without us.”
Or, LulzSec is simply sitting on its stolen classified information for the moment.