A 19 year-old UK man was charged on Wednesday for the role he played in attacks on the UK’s Serious Organized Crime Agency (SOCA) as well as UK’s British Phonographic Industry (BPI) and International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), according to a statement released by the Metropolitan Police Service’s Police Central e-Crime Unit (PCeU).
Ryan Cleary of Essex, England, was charged with five counts of violating the UK’s Computer Misuse Act and the country’s Criminal Law Act. The charges allege that Cleary helped to build malicious networks of compromised computers, or “botnets” and then used them to launch crippling attacks on systems belonging to those the SOCA and other organizations. It is the first arrest of what is believed to be a high ranking member of the anarchic hacking groups Anonymous or LulzSec.
The charges follow news of Cleary’s arrest on Monday in connection with a string of attacks in the UK and abroad. Under British law, suspects can be held for 96 hours for questioning. Authorities familiar with the case said on Tuesday that they expected charges to be filed swiftly in Cleary’s case.
In a statement released on its Web site, PCeU said that Cleary was engaged in a denial of service attack against SOCA on the day of his arrest. He will face charges in the UK first, but could eventually be extradited to the U.S. where he is wanted in connection with attacks against the Web site of the CIA, the Public Broadcasting System and others.
Cleary is described in UK publications as the son of a University lecturer – a “loner” and “recluse” with a record of disciplinary problem. Cleary is said to suffer from ADHD and Emotional Behavioral Disorder. His arrest followed an investigation by the FBI and the Metropolitan Police into Cleary, whose name has come up in online postings that claim to identify Anonymous and LulzSec members.
Cleary is being confined to his family’s home in Wickford, Essex – outside London. He will appear at City of Westminster Magistrates Court on Thursday to face charges.