It has been a quite successful run for the anonymous hacker group Lulz Security, responsible for the security breach of corporations and government agencies including PBS, Sony, Nintendo, Fox, FBI affiliate Infragard, US Senate, and Bethesda Softworks among its high profile targets.
The group still manages to tweet and communicate through Pastebin and their own website without a domain-seize threat from federal agencies. The virtually connected members of the group with the face of a caricature, which is also their twitter display picture, continues to evoke responses ranging from admiration to disdain to indifference among the public.
Ever since the group hit headlines in a hacking spree, LulzSec's Twitter follower numbers have skyrocketed to 133,000 in a matter of weeks. LulzSec Twitter bio the world's leaders in high-quality entertainment at your expense and their tweets project them as a hilarious bunch of individuals breaching security systems as though it were some fun leisure activity.
The welcome text on LulzSec's website proclaims; We're LulzSec, a small team of lulzy individuals who feel the drabness of the cyber community is a burden on what matters: fun. Considering fun is now restricted to Friday, where we look forward to the weekend, weekend, we have now taken it upon ourselves to spread fun, fun, fun, throughout the entire calender year. (Notice the spelling mistake in calendar? Apparently they don't care about silly things like spelling as much as they don't care about things like security).
Twitter responses and discussions in other web forums give the idea that people aren't much concerned about the implications of data breaches. Regards to LulzSec, it really doesn't matter to me. I'm not a viable target and the collateral damage caused thus far has been fairly low-impacting for me, a user wrote in an online discussion. The comment is a roundabout of the general feeling.
When the Sony hack resulted in a month long shut down of the PlayStation Network, a large section of PSN users were disappointed with the Japanese corporation than with LulzSec. A PSN user responded to Sony's comeback gifts, They (Sony) are 100% at fault and very much do 'owe' the community. The 'free' couple months of ps+ is not even a gift. This incident has been going on for six weeks, with psn being down sporadically the entire time. They are simply returning the lost paid for time. Interestingly, users deprived of PSN for a month, didn't show even a wee bit of irritation towards the people who actually caused it.
But the US Senate and FBI affiliate hacking hasn't gone down well with a section of public. In the long run, if they stick to lulzy targets, it won't be that big a deal. If they keep up on government affiliates, that might be different, a netizen wrote. Transparency is nice for the populous; it also has the potential to end empires. Governments need certain things to stay secret in order to operate, as these secrets can break countries. Why do you think the CIA exists? he continued. When that leak happens or that email server is hacked, the result won't be lulz, it will be dead people. Retaliatory terrorist attacks, economic sanctions, diplomatic warfare, riots, suppressed protests. While those who may die would likely not be American, does that really matter?
Those who constantly keep track of LulzSec's business only for some good time are mirrored by this comment: Well, I did get a few laughs out of it, but those were mostly YES, SOMEONE NAILED *insert big company here*. I wouldn't care any more or less if it were any other company.
There is also a section who thinks that LulzSec is a shortcut in the fight against corrupt polity: I don't remember who said it, but someone once said 'The people should overthrow those in power every 200 years or so, to make sure they don't become too lax and corrupt.' Is the time upon us? goes a comment in a discussion forum.
Patrick Gray of the Risky Business security podcast wrote a funny rant titled 'Why we secretly love LulzSec' that said: Security types like LulzSec because they're proving what a mess we're in. They're pointing at the elephant in the room and saying LOOK AT THE GIGANTIC F*****G ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM ZOMG WHY CAN'T YOU SEE IT??? ITS TRUNK IS IN YR COFFEE FFS!!! LulzSec is running around pummeling some of the world's most powerful organizations into the ground... for laughs! For lulz! For s***s and giggles! Surely that tells you what you need to know about computer security: there isn't any.
Gayathri writes about geopolitics and business for International Business Times. She began her career at the Times of India as news coordinator, before moving on to IBTimes...