Anonymous suspects bailed - banned from using online nicknames and IRC

Filed Under: Denial of Service, Law & order, Vulnerability

LulzSecFour men appeared at City of Westminster Magistrates' Court today in connection with various Anonymous and LulzSec internet attacks, and were granted bail on the condition that they did not use specific online nicknames on the internet or IRC.

Hackers affiliated with Anonymous and LulzSec have used IRC (Internet Relay Chat) channels as their primary method of coordinating attacks and communicating with each other, using online nicknames as a veil of anonymity.

The men will break the conditions of their bail if they use specific online nicknames on websites:

20-year-old Christopher Jan Weatherhead, from Northampton, cannot use the internet nickname "Nerdo".

Ashley Rhodes, 26, from London, is banned from calling himself "NikonElite" online.

22-year-old student Peter David Gibson, of Hartlepool, County Durham, is banned from using the name "Peter" on the internet (which must be awkward), and a 17-year-old from Chester is not allowed to use his online nickname.

The four are separately charged with conspiracy to impair the operation of a computer or hinder access to a program or data. Police arrested the men earlier this year, following a series of denial-of-service and hacking attacks against the websites of different organisations and companies.

There will, no doubt, be some raised eyebrows that the men's bail conditions do not insist upon a complete ban on internet access, considering the nature of the allegations against them.

According to CourtNewsUK, the judge said that such an internet ban was unworkable:

The suspected hackers are scheduled to appear at Southwark Crown Court on November 18th.

Hat-tip: The Guardian.

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14 Responses to Anonymous suspects bailed - banned from using online nicknames and IRC

  1. Richard · 959 days ago

    They manage to ban sex offenders from using the Internet, so why not hackers? Why would the solution that works for one group be "unworkable" for the other?

  2. Antony · 959 days ago

    Peter1.....

  3. Machin Shin · 959 days ago

    Ok, so there was actually a hacker in one of these groups that used his real name for a screen name? I can't decide if that is incredibly smart or really stupid. On one hand you want to say he was stupid for not even trying to protect his identity but on the other hand it also makes you question if he really had anything to do with the hacking. I guess only time will tell if he was stupid or just a great chess player.

  4. Ohh noes. I talked to Nerdo like every day. Hes a good guy.

    But Peter... he can't use his REAL NAME on the internet but he could LEGALLY use the name "Super Anonymous Hacker"

    Good job law enforcement -.-

  5. two cents · 959 days ago

    I can see how banning the internet is difficult to uphold (though not using those names may be difficult too)... but then why not require them to use their real names? Prevent them from using another anonymous nickname? I get that this is difficult, but if they can ban use of certain ones - why can't they require a specific one that needs to be used?

    Granted - if I remember correctly, wasn't someone else actually banned from the internet? Or am I remembering that wrong? To me if it could be done once - it could be done in this situation too. Yes, our lives are centered around it - computers are everywhere, even in our phones... so I can see how the requirement may be a bit unrealistic.

  6. Bob · 959 days ago

    and what is to stop them using each others nicknames

  7. Banned from using nicknames? So, uh, should they go by 'Anonymous'? Technically, that follows the order of the court, as 'anonymous' implies a complete lack of nomenclature. I am sure they will all have a hard time shedding their elaborate online persona and living anonymously.

  8. Tim · 958 days ago

    I guess they'll just put "TheReal" in front of their banned niks.

  9. NikonE- uh... "Bob" · 958 days ago

    I seem to recall a flurry of news stories a few weeks ago claiming that Christopher Jan Weatherhead and Ashley Rhodes were the persons who comprised the identity of the hacker known as "Kayla."

    Apparently those stories are all wrong and Kayla is still free. And Kayla is still apparently a 16 year old girl whom neither the police nor an army of dribbling amateur investigators can suss out.

    If there were any more egg on faces right now, I could make an omelette.

    • I think you're mistaken. Weatherhead and Rhodes are from Northampton and London respectively.

      The two men arrested in relation to "Kayla" were arrested in Mexborough, Doncaster, and Warminster in Wiltshire. See http://nakedsecurity.sophos.com/2011/09/01/hacker...

      Different people.

      Oh, and the normally chirpy Kayla has not tweeted since September 1st.. the date of the arrests in relation to "Kayla". Make of that what you will.

  10. Banning a nickname has no police policing affect, I just changed my nickname to NightlyMyth, the only problem with it is the bother i have of changing all my account names to nightlymyth,

    the only effective ban is the irc ban, but even that has its limitations, like its only IRC, i can use tny,skyp,fckbk etc etc

  11. Anonymously Goofy · 938 days ago

    I'm Kilroy, Kilroy!
    These people from anonymous are the only real freedom fighters in the world. The rest are just delusional brain washed idiots that are killing and fighting for Exxon, Halliburton. Or just playing religious games of "This land is my land, my God said so."

  12. Indy · 450 days ago

    I agree with Richard, these guys should be banned from using the internet and in my opinion for life.

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About the author

Graham Cluley is an award-winning security blogger, and veteran of the anti-virus industry having worked for a number of security companies since the early 1990s. Now an independent security analyst, he regularly makes media appearances and gives computer security presentations. Send Graham an email, subscribe to his updates on Facebook, follow him on Twitter and App.net, and circle him on Google Plus for regular updates.