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Computer hacking suspect arrested in Britain

The 19-year-old is accused in Web attacks against businesses and government agencies at a time of several high-profile hacking cases.

June 22, 2011|By Janet Stobart and Nathan Olivarez-Giles, Los Angeles Times

Reporting from London and Los Angeles — A 19-year-old man was arrested in Britain on suspicion of taking part in Web attacks against businesses and government agencies, authorities said Tuesday.

The man, who was not immediately identified by police, was arrested on suspicion of computer misuse and fraud in Wickford, in southeastern England, by British police in cooperation with the FBI, authorities said.

A police statement indicated that the suspect was being questioned at a central London police station. The accusations against him include attempting to keep computer users from accessing information or services.

"The arrest follows an investigation into network intrusions and Distributed Denial of Service attacks against a number of international business and intelligence agencies by what is believed to be the same hacking group," the statement said.

The arrest comes as a hacking group calling itself Lulz Security, or LulzSec, and others have claimed to have breached the websites of companies and government agencies, and unidentified groups have hacked the International Monetary Fund and the video game company Sega.

LulzSec claims to have struck the websites of the U.S. Senate, the CIA, Sony, Bethesda Softworks, Nintendo and PBS in recent weeks. Another group, which calls itself Anonymous, has been blamed in part for attacks on Sony that disabled the company's PlayStation Network and Qriocity online entertainment services.

In January, five alleged members of Anonymous were arrested in Britain, with three other suspects arrested in Spain and 32 in Turkey.

Soon after British police announced the arrest Tuesday, LulzSec said on Twitter that the suspect wasn't a member of its ranks.

Stobart is a staff writer in The Times' London bureau. Times staff writer Olivarez-Giles reported from Los Angeles.

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