After wreaking havoc on a number of high-profile business and government websites, the LulzSec hacker group said Saturday that it was hanging it up.
LulzSec's sudden farewell missive comes only a couple of days after the apprehension by British police of a 19-year-old suspected of being associated with the group.
The group claimed its first series of hacks in early May, leaking what it said was is a database of "X Factor" contestants and attacking Fox.com. It subsequently broke into the website of the U.S. Public Broadcasting Service, posting a phony story claiming that dead rapper Tupac Shakur is actually alive in New Zealand. The hack came after the broadcaster aired a documentary seen as critical of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. That was followed by cyber-takedowns of websites operated by Sony Pictures Entertainment, Atlanta chapter of an FBI partner organization called InfraGard, the United States Senate and, most famously, the CIA's public website.
After the arrest of Ryan Cleary in Britain last week, LulzSec said that his involvement with the group was only tangential. However, the timing of their supposed retirement from the scene suggests that Cleary may have a different story to tell investigators.
As a parting shot, LulzSec released a grab-bag of documents and login information apparently gleaned from gaming websites and corporate servers. The largest group of documents -- 338 files -- appears to be internal documents from AT&T Inc., detailing its buildout of a new wireless broadband network in the U.S. The network is set to go live this summer. An AT&T spokesman could not immediately confirm the authenticity of the documents.
The Saturday message doesn't suggest a broader narrative for LulzSec's handicraft other than that of hackers on an anarchic joyride. Whether the Lulz collective remains true to its word about halting its attacks, time will tell. In the meantime, here's the text of their statement:
For the past 50 days we've been disrupting and exposing corporations, governments, often the general population itself, and quite possibly everything in between, just because we could. All to selflessly entertain others - vanity, fame, recognition, all of these things are shadowed by our desire for that which we all love. The raw, uninterrupted, chaotic thrill of entertainment and anarchy. It's what we all crave, even the seemingly lifeless politicians and emotionless, middle-aged self-titled failures. You are not failures. You have not blown away. You can get what you want and you are worth having it, believe in yourself.
While we are responsible for everything that The Lulz Boat is, we are not tied to this identity permanently. Behind this jolly visage of rainbows and top hats, we are people. People with a preference for music, a preference for food; we have varying taste in clothes and television, we are just like you. Even Hitler and Osama Bin Laden had these unique variations and style, and isn't that interesting to know? The mediocre painter turned supervillain liked cats more than we did.
Again, behind the mask, behind the insanity and mayhem, we truly believe in the AntiSec movement. We believe in it so strongly that we brought it back, much to the dismay of those looking for more anarchic lulz. We hope, wish, even beg, that the movement manifests itself into a revolution that can continue on without us. The support we've gathered for it in such a short space of time is truly overwhelming, and not to mention humbling. Please don't stop. Together, united, we can stomp down our common oppressors and imbue ourselves with the power and freedom we deserve.
So with those last thoughts, it's time to say bon voyage. Our planned 50 day cruise has expired, and we must now sail into the distance, leaving behind - we hope - inspiration, fear, denial, happiness, approval, disapproval, mockery, embarrassment, thoughtfulness, jealousy, hate, even love. If anything, we hope we had a microscopic impact on someone, somewhere. Anywhere.
Thank you for sailing with us. The breeze is fresh and the sun is setting, so now we head for the horizon.
Let it flow...
Lulz Security - our crew of six wishes you a happy 2011, and a shout-out to all of our battlefleet members and supporters across the globe