The shadowy hacking group LulzSec has posted a message saying that it is disbanding after just 50 days.
The group posted messages to its Twitter account, and a letter to its followers on Pastebin.com, the online file sharing site. In the letter, the group said it was disbanding so that its members could pursue other interests. However, with the arrest of one purported LulzSec member in the UK last week, there is speculation that the sudden decision to disband may be a response to a wide ranging, international criminal investigation that sources say is moving quickly to a conclusion.
LulzSec emerged in the shadow of Anonaymous, a larger hacking collective that had recently carried out high profile attacks against the security firm HBGary and Sony Corp. While not much concrete is known about LulzSec’s leadership, it is believed to consist of core members of AnonOps, the top echelon of Anonymous.
Since spinning off from Anonymous, LulzSec has carried out a string of high profile hacks, including attacks on Sony, the FBI’s Infraguard program, servers belonging to the U.S. Senate, the CIA as well as security and gaming firms, among others.
In its farewell letter to its hundreds of thousands of followers, the group said that its goal was to “entertain others” and that its motivations were “vanity, fame, recognition,” as well as “the raw, uninterrupted, chaotic thrill of entertainment and anarchy.” The group also suggested that its members may reappear under a different banner.
“While we are responsible for everything that The Lulz Boat is, we are not tied to this identity permanently.” It also suggested that LulzSec members wished to return to their personal lives and other interests.
However, recent days have seen the veil of anonymity that surrounds the group pulled back – if just a little. In addition to the arrest of Ryan Cleary, a 19 year-old UK citizen in connection with LulzSec sponsored attacks, a detailed log of an allegedly secret IRC chat room used by senior LulzSec members was leaked and published by the Guardian on Friday. The group denied any relationship with Cleary and maintained that the leaked chat contained sensitive information. However, the chat revealed members concerned about the consequences of actions taken against the FBI, CIA and others and worried that they may be arrested.
Experts have speculated that the string of hacks may have been a last ditch stand by members of Anonymous who had become convinced that arrest was imminent.