A self-proclaimed leader of the LulzSec international hacking group has been arrested in Australia, police say, after charging him with attacking and defacing a government website.
The 24-year-old information technology professional, who went by the online identity "ozshock", was seized at his office in a town 80 kilometres north of Sydney on Tuesday.
"The man is a self-proclaimed leader of the group Lulz Security (LulzSec), a computer hacking group that has existed since 2011," the Australian Federal Police said yesterday, adding that he was known to international police forces.
"It will be alleged that this person, known by the online identity ozshock, had gained unauthorised access and caused data impairment to a government website during this month."
LulzSec, an offshoot of the larger group Anonymous, has claimed responsibility for multiple cyber attacks, including against Sony Pictures, Rupert Murdoch's News International, and the CIA.
Police called the man, who has not been named, "a well-respected person within the Anonymous community, within LulzSec". They said he was employed "in a position of trust" at the firm he worked for, although it had no knowledge of his activities.
Australian Federal Police Cyber Crimes commander Glen McEwen said the man's job gave him access to sensitive information, which allowed him to carry out the attack on the unnamed website.
The man has been charged with two counts of unauthorised modification of data to cause impairment and one count of unauthorised access to a restricted computer system and faces a maximum of 12 years in jail.