June 27, 2011, 6:00 AM — Assailed by government anti-hacking investigations (which had no effect) and attacks from fellow hackers (which did), upstart hactivist provoca-troll group LulzSec called it quits over the weekend.
The group – now identifying itself as having six full members – posted an announcement Saturday calling an end to "50 days of Lulz" that included successful hacks of the U.S. Senate, CIA, FBI affiliates, Sony, PBS, Arizona's umbrella state police agency, Peru's state police as well as what might be the first call-in request-a-hack line in history (calls on which the group also used as reroutable phone-network DDOS traffic, which generated more lulz).
The release gives no specific reason for the group's decision to disband. It does make bitter references to the "brutal" environment of the Internet, implying the amount of pressure the six must have felt from both law enforcement and segments of the hacker community that exposed the names of Lulz' members and attacked its methods.
The release also hints at the desire of Lulz' members to escape the intense anxiety of life as a high-profile fugitive and slip anonymously back into the background.
Part of the anxiety may follow the arrest of 19-year-old Brit Ryan Cleary, who was touted by police as the mastermind of LulzSec, but dissed by it in public and in leaked IRC log files as a fringe player not trusted or more than marginally involved with group members.
"Ryan needs a psychologist," LulzSec member Topiary writes. "I will be his psychologist, in return for bots."
Cleary has been charged with five counts of criminal misuse of computers for attacks including the one that took down the site of the British FBI-like Serious Organized Crimes Agency (SOCA) and maintaining an extensive botnet.
Cleary also admitted having broken in to the Pentagon and NASA, looking for evidence of UFOs, according to British tabloid TheSun, which noted that Cleary's lawyer told the judge Cleary has Asperger's Syndrome -- the condition underlying autism.