Ryan Cleary, the Essex teenager charged over hacking allegations last week, has been released on bail on condition he remain offline.
The 19-year-old has been ordered to observe an overnight curfew, given an electronic tracking tag and banned from using the internet, with devices including his PC, Apple iPhone and Sony PlayStation 3 games console confiscated.
Mr Cleary is accused of launching cyberattacks on websites including the UK’s Serious Organised Crime Agency and sites owned by music-industry bodies, using a “botnet”, which fires so much traffic at a website that its servers collapse. The Metropolitan police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation have been conducting a joint inquiry as part of an attempt to stem a wave of recent hacking attacks.
Outside Southwark crown court, Mr Cleary’s solicitor said: “Ryan has last week at court been diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, which is a form of high functioning autism. He will now be provided with the professional support that he needs. His obvious intelligence can now be channelled into a worthwhile pursuit.”
Lulz Security, a hacker group with which Mr Cleary has been associated, announced this weekend that it was ceasing operations but encouraged its hundreds of thousands of Twitter followers to continue its campaign of havoc on corporate and governmental websites around the world. Members of LulzSec have regrouped back under the Anonymous umbrella, from which they originated.
Before its dissolution, LulzSec denied claims that Mr Cleary was a senior member of the small organisation, explaining that he provided infrastructure hosting some of its chat rooms but was not involved in its more sophisticated hacking attacks on targets including PBS, the broadcaster, and Sony.
The hearing comes ahead of a civil case this week over whether BT, the telecoms group, should block Newzbin, a website popular with online pirates.
The Motion Picture Association, representing movie studios and other content owners, is the first UK claimant to use a section of the Copyrights, Designs and Patents Act to attempt to force an internet service provider to prevent infringement of their intellectual property by blocking unlawful activity on their networks.