LulzSec Passes Hacking Torch To Anonymous

LulzSec posted a farewell letter on announcing that its 50-day hacking spree had come to an end.

“We are Lulz Security and this is our final release, as today marks something meaningful to us. 50 days ago,’ the group said in its blog post Saturday.

“For the past 50 days, we’ve been disrupting and exposing corporations, governments, often the general population itself, and quite possible everything in between, just because we could,” LulzSec said. “It’s time to say bon voyage. Our planned 50 day cruise has expired, and we must now sail into the distance.”

LulzSec accentuated its retirement by publishing a slew of sensitive data via BitTorrent acquired from its high profile victims such as the CIA, U.S. Senate, Sony, AOL, Battlefield Heroes and the NATO bookshop, comprising a wide array of internal memos, personal information on game users, login credentials and other sensitive information.

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While LulzSec gave up its crown, the group encouraged its more than 200,000 Twitter followers to shift their allegiance to follow global hacker collective Anonymous, which acquired more than 60,000 new Twitter followers over the last 24 hours.

However, at least one security expert said it was unlikely that the number of cyber attacks would diminish, despite the appearance that LulzSec was putting an end to its hacking days.

“It’s doubtful that the members of LulzSec will stop performing cyber attacks,” said Patricia Titus, chief information and security officer for security firm Unisys. “And even if they stop operating under the name LulzSec, there are simply too many other groups they can join instead. Perhaps we could see a temporary reprieve in the number of press worthy attacks, buts it’s very doubtful it will last.”

Meanwhile Anonymous kicked off its new-found promotion by releasing a giant torrent file weighing in at 625 MB, which contained an ISO archive file containing the Cyberterrorism Defense Initiative Sentinel Cyberterrorism Defense Program. Included in the published data was information on counter-hacking tools and addresses of U.S. FBI locations.

Anonymous further celebrated its new role by seizing the Web site of the Tunisian government on Monday, maintaining that the government had ignored its demands that to put a halt to "Internet censorship" of WikiLeaks information.

LulzSec didn’t specify the reason it was passing the torch.

However, LulzSec is facing intensified pressure from global law enforcement after Scotland Yard arrested 19-year-old Ryan Cleary of Wickford, Essex last week for his alleged affiliation as one of the group’s leaders. LulzSec denied Cleary’s involvement with the group.

LulzSec made a name for itself over the last 50 days by launching cyber attacks on a slew of high profile organizations, including Sony, Nintendo, PBS, the CIA’s public-facing Web site , and InfraGard, an affiliate of the FBI . As one its last hurrahs, the group exposed more than 700 files from the Arizona Department Public Safety , allegedly to protest the state’s controversial immigration laws.

While it is unclear if or how Anonymous will take on LulzSec’s mission with targeted attacks on governments, Titus said that the spate of high profile attacks could serve to raise awareness and be used by organizations to re-evaluate their security posture.

“We might be best served by using the knowledge we’ve gained from how the attacks happened to strengthen our security programs,” Titus said. “Looking at the way these events unfold can be pretty powerful training and provide us with some good educational tools.”