A man believed to be LulzSec stalwart 'Topiary' - real name unknown - has been arrested by the Metropolitan Police's e-crime unit after a raid on his home in Shetland.
The 18-year-old, whose real identity is still a mystery, has been identified by police as Topiary, a name associated with the notorious hacktivism group LulzSec. While LulzSec - and its predecessor, Anonymous, with which it has recently joined forces - appears to be focusing on more legitimate forms of protest these days (opens in new tab), there's plenty for police to pin on Topiary.
The man is believed to have been one of the leaders of LulzSec, coordinating distributed denial of service attacks on the websites of major corporations and - perhaps most famously - breaking into the web server of The Sun during the height of the phone hacking furore to post a story claiming that Rupert Murdoch, the head of Sun owner News Corp, had died.
While it's true that Topiary hasn't been seen online for a few days, there are questions being raised about whether the police have captured the right man. DailyTech (opens in new tab) has compiled an impressive dossier of information on Topiary which it claims is at odds with the arrest of the Shetland resident.
The site points to the release of the supposed real identity of Topiary by an anti-LulzSec group which claimed the man was a a 23-year-old Swedish citizen living in Uppsala. A chat extract from a person claiming to be Topiary - and speaking to an unknown individual - also suggests a Swedish identity, with frequent references to a previous owner of the nickname who lived in the UK.
"All you bastards told me my Brit voice was good," Topiary writes in the chat. "These faggots aren't hitting the UK [redacted] Topiary. I'm hoping someone will go after him and think it's me, then I'll act all scared etc. Find some network and steal someone's nick, like someone you don't like, then do illegal shit - and they hit them instead."
If true, the man held by police is the wrong Topiary. The real hacker's absence from the Internet for the past few days, however, suggests otherwise. Unless, of course, the real Topiary is lying low in the hope the police will continue to believe they have the right man.
With our collective heads throbbing just thinking about the possibilities in this mystery, we're just thankful - and not for the first time - that we don't work for the Metropolitan Police.