Chapter 5: LulzSec’s Attacks Increase

by Kyle Schurman

This chapter is a free excerpt from Lulzsec.

On June 13, the group reverted to its hacks aimed specifically against the U.S. government. The LulzSec group released e-mail addresses and passwords of people who had registered with the Senate.gov Web site. As part of the hack, LulzSec sarcastically asked on Twitter whether its actions represented an “act of war.”

Another LulzSec hack took place June 13. The group accessed a reported 200,000 accounts at Bethesda Game Studios. However, in a change from its normal mode of operation, Lulz Security did not publicize the e-mail addresses and passwords it stole. Instead, the hacking group used a Twitter message to tell Bethesda that it had hacked the site several weeks earlier, and that the security holes still existed.

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On June 13, the group reverted to its hacks aimed specifically against the U.S. government. The LulzSec group released e-mail addresses and passwords of people who had registered with the Senate.gov Web site. As part of the hack, LulzSec sarcastically asked on Twitter whether its actions represented an “act of war.”

Another LulzSec hack took place June 13. The group accessed a reported 200,000 accounts at Bethesda Game Studios. However, in a change from its normal mode of operation, Lulz Security did not publicize the e-mail addresses and passwords it stole. Instead, the hacking group used a Twitter message to tell Bethesda that it had hacked the site several weeks earlier, and that the security holes still existed.

Lulz Security followed that attack with a June 14 hack it called “Titanic Takedown Tuesday,” where it attacked several multi-player online gaming sites. The attacked sites included: EVE Online, League of Legends, and Minecraft. Other hacked sites included gaming magazine The Escapist and IT security company Finfisher. LulzSec used denial of service attacks to prevent visitors from logging into the sites.

Learn more about the Tuesday attacks at: http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2011/06/titanic-takeover-tuesday-lulzsecs

The reasoning behind these DoS attacks had its roots in LulzSec’s feud with some 4chan users, many of who use the online gaming sites. Those who frequented the 4chan Web site often are fans of the Anonymous hacking group, which fuels speculation that Anonymous and LulzSec were feuding.

“Civil wars” among 4chan users are fairly common. These DoS attacks sparked a firestorm on the 4chan /b/ board (boards.4chan.org/b/), causing many posters to demand that LulzSec be stopped and that the members’ identities be revealed.

LulzSec followed Titanic Takedown Tuesday with two more DoS attacks the following day (June 15). The hackers struck the Heroes of Newerth gaming Web site. A graffiti message on the site claimed that Defense of the Ancients is a better game.

The group also took down the CIA’s public website (www.cia.gov) for about two hours using DoS methods. LulzSec announced the attack on its Twitter site: “Tango down – cia.gov – for the lulz.” Some of the spotty performance of the CIA Web site could have been attributed to a flood of people checking the site after LulzSec announced the hack on Twitter.

Read more about the CIA hack at: www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/who-are-the-group-behind-this-weeks-cia-hack-2298430.html.

The hacker group was back to releasing e-mail addresses and passwords on June 16. Lulz Security posted information from more than 60,000 accounts onto the file-hosting Web site, MediaFire. However, LulzSec slightly twisted its mode of operation.

This time, LulzSec didn’t tell people which Web sites it hacked. Instead, the hacker group encouraged anyone who saw the information to try it at random Web sites, trying to gain access. Some Facebook accounts and Amazon.com accounts were then accessed, using the information.

One of LulzSec’s Twitter followers claimed to have hacked an “old lady’s” Amazon account, ordering a large pack of condoms to be delivered to her. The Web site Writerspace.com later admitted that the information had come from its users’ accounts.

Read more about the Writespace.com hack here: www.theinquirer.net/inquirer/news/2079740/passwords-leaked-lulzsec-writerspace.

Lulz Secuirty didn’t limit its cyber-attacks to Web sites. For example, the group used an attack style similar to DoS with customer service telephone calls. This attack overwhelmed the telephone systems, leaving the entities unable to communicate with customers. These telephone attacks included strikes against the FBI in Detroit and World of Warcraft.

One attack that did not take place became almost as well known as some of the attacks that did occur. In a public war of words with Unveillance CEO Karim Hijazi, both sides accused the other of blackmail. Hijazi accused LulzSec of demanding money from his security company in exchange for protection from attack. Lulz Security’s side of the story claimed Hijazi offered to pay the group to attack his business rivals’ Web sites.

Read about Hijazi’s side of the story at: www.unveillance.com/latest-news/unveillance-official-statement/.

Some attacks attributed to LulzSec were denied by the group, too. An online claim that LulzSec had hacked the U.K. Office for National Statistics and had stolen census data was false.

Learn more about the fake census hack at: www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2011/jun/22/lulzsec-census-hacking-claims-a-hoax.

It appears LulzSec inspired some copycat attacks in Canada and Brazil. A group called LulzRaft began committing similar types of Web site attacks against Canadian entities in the summer of 2011. For example, one of LulzRaft’s first attacks involved posting a false story claiming Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper had been hospitalized after choking on a hash brown potato. The Brazilian hacker group broke into a couple of Brazilian government sites, and some media reports refer to this group as LulzSecBrazil.
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