In Pictures: Anonymous and LulzSec, 10 greatest hits

A look at 10 of the more notorious acts of hacktivism by Anonymous and LulzSec

  • 1. LulzSec attacks Sony June 2011: LulzSec breaks into several Sony Pictures websites and accesses unencrypted personal information on more than 1 million people. LulzSec also claimed it compromised all "admin details," including administrator passwords, as well as 75,000 "music codes" and 3.5 million "music coupons" from Sony networks and websites.

  • 2. Anonymous attacks HBGary February 2011: Anonymous leaks thousands of email messages from the accounts of HBGary CTO Greg Hoglund and CEO Aaron Barr. The attack was launched after Barr said he had discovered the identities of many of Anonymous's leaders and planned to discuss his investigation in a public talk.

  • 3. LulzSec "kills off" Rupert Murdoch July 2011: LulzSec hijacks News International's Times and Sun websites and posts a fake "Murdoch dead" story. The spoof story claims that Rupert Murdoch had been found dead in his garden. Readers clicking on the hoax story on were redirected, where the story was placed, headlined 'Media mogul's body discovered'.

  • 4. Anonymous vs. FBI February 2012: The FBI, Scotland Yard and other top law enforcement agencies around the world hold a confidential conference call to discuss the ongoing investigations into Anonymous and related splinter groups like Lulzsec, Antisec and others. Also on the line, listening in, is Anonymous itself. Anonymous ultimately posts a nearly 17-minute recording of the call on YouTube and other sites. The FBI confirms that the recording is authentic, "illegally obtained" and that "a criminal investigation is under way to identify and hold accountable those responsible."

  • 5. Anonymous vs. the U.S. Justice Department January 2012: Retaliating for the government's removal of the Megaupload websites, Anonymous attacks the U.S. Department of Justice and others, knocking down the agency's website as well as those of Universal Music and the Recording Industry Association of America.

  • 6. LulzSec vs. CIA June 2011: LulzSec manages to take down the CIA's main public-facing website. Tweeting about bringing down the CIA site, LulzSec said: "Tango down - - for the lulz."

  • 7. Anonymous hacks Bank of America March 2011: Anonymous releases emails concerning Bank of America handed to the group by a whistleblower who worked for seven years at Balboa Insurance, a company that provides insurance to financial institutions in the mortgage and vehicle finance markets. Balboa was a unit of Countrywide Financial, which Bank of America acquired in 2008. Bank of America said in February it would sell Balboa to QBE Insurance Group. The former Balboa employee alleged that the e-mail trail indicated that Balboa withheld certain foreclosure information from U.S. federal auditors during the takeovers of the financial institution IndyMac, which the U.S. federal government seized in July 2008, and Aurora Loan Services, a mortgage loan company that was a subsidiary of Lehman Brothers, the failed investment bank.

  • 8. Anonymous vs. the Chinese government April 2012: Anonymous successfully defaces hundreds of Chinese Government websites in protest against Internet censorship. The full list of attacked domains posted on Pastebin ultimately reached 501. "Your government controls the Internet in your country and strives to filter what it considers a threat for it," read the opening text of the defacement message posted on many of the sites.

  • 9. LulzSec hacks March 2012: A catalogue of security problems including poor web application design and the use of inadequate encryption allows LulzSec to grab user names, email addresses, passwords and even IP addresses for around 170,000 MilitarySingles' subscribers. The data turned up on Pastebin.

  • 10. Anonymous vs. the Vatican March 2012: Anonymous cuts off access to the Vatican website for several hours and violates data on the Vatican Radio computer system. Anonymous said the incursion into the Vatican Radio system was justified by the fact that the radio's powerful transmitters sited in the countryside outside Rome constituted a health risk to people living in the vicinity.

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