British cybercops may have been duped in arrest of LulzSec leader?

Arrest of LulzSec leader 'Topiary' may be scam to get the real one off the hook

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Unlikely as it seems, it's possible he pulled up stakes in Sweden and went to hide in the remote Shetlands, or was never the Swedish Daniel Sandberg in the first place.

Most evidence points to him as a Swede, however. And the arrest followed the script too neatly to assume it's all coincidence.

It's especially hard given the repeated errors by both the FBI and Scotland Yard in supposing they were investigating and slapping the cuffs on LulzSec and Anonymous leaders when they were actually sweeping up among the masses of rank-and-file.

The presumed scam generated peals of lulz on Twitter but, so far, no confirmation either way.

As with other "hactivist leader" arrests, it seems most reasonable to withhold judgment, but assume there's something fishy about the story coming out in police announcements.

Police are good at following leads and coming to conclusions based on basic logic and available evidence.

They're not so good at figuring out when the evidence is being skillfully faked unless they're able to arrest and question both faker and fakee.

If the victim of a framing is a little old lady or a kid who couldn't have the skills to commit the crimes of which they're accused (as has been the case with a number of "content pirates" prosecuted by the RIAA), it's not hard to figure out when an arrest is a mistake.

When the "hacker" who's been arrested actually is a hacker who can be shown to have either been hanging out in the same venues the real Topiary would haunt or even doing his best to make it look as if he is Topiary – either to collect respect or ruin the real Topiary's reputation – it's even harder.

For now, what we know is that Scotland Yard's cybercrime unit has arrested a 19-year-old man who fits the profile of a troll Topiary talked at length of framing to convince those pursuing LulzSec leaders that the troll was the real thing.

It doesn't say much for the ethics, judgment or moral backbone of the real Topiary if he's trying to get someone else prosecuted for his crimes.

Given his history of both hactivism and pointless theft and distribution of private information on private citizens – putting them at financial risk for no reason whatsoever – Topiary's lack of any moral backbone isn't much of a surprise, either.

Photo Credit: 

YouTube video interview with "Topiary"

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