back to article Accused SOCA attacker reportedly 'keen' to help cops

A 19-year-old UK man accused of taking part in an attack on the website of the Serious Oranised Crime Agency was denied bail during a brief court hearing on Thursday. Ryan Cleary didn't enter a plea to the five offenses Metropolitan Police leveled against him on Wednesday, according to media reports. The judge at the …


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  1. Thomas 18

    Bad times

    People just don't see the hurt they cause though, they just get wrapped up in the cause and forget about all the punters with chugging slow computers and businesses employees/customers.

    Lets hope the sentence is proportional to the crime though i.e. less than murder and lets try and keep him away from the yanks eh.

    1. Thomas 4
      IT Angle

      I have a dream

      I dream that one day, people accused of technical crimes such as these will be tried by a panel of technical experts, rather than Joe Plebb off the street who classes anything beyond the power switch as "computer hacking".

      1. ClareCares


        My heart goes out to the mother of this youngster. To have your son accused of a crime just for running a chat server. As a parent she has my sympathies.

        As a web developer I have to wonder when the FBI, and the Met police are going to go after Microsoft for the same things. They must run the servers for MSN which have to be a lot bigger than what ever Ryan was running. Surely this makes them much bigger criminals?

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Thumb Down



            Computer Misuse Act 1990?


            There is a difference between MSN and IRC. Also I believe that the folks of Anon and Lulzsec use IRC to control botnets?

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Thumb Down


              I also believe that terrorists use mobile phones. That does not mean that all people who use mobile phones are terrorists.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      I'm assuming the upvotes on Thomas18 are for the yanks comment?

      No crime was committed. If you leave your couch out at the curb, someone assumes it is garbage and takes it, your couch wasn't stolen. There is no reasonable expectation of privacy for data stored in plaintext.

      1. David Neil

        Not strictly true

        The couch analogy has a flaw.

        S.3(1) of the Theft Act 1968 states:

        ``Any assumption by a person of the rights of an owner amounts to an appropriation, and this includes, where he has come by the property (innocently or not) without stealing it, any later assumption of a right to it by keeping or dealing with it as owner.''

        While you may not have had the intention of permanently depriving the owner of their property, if you later became aware that they were indeed seeking recovery then you could be charged with theft.

  2. Turtle

    Well, we all know.

    We all know by now that it is easier to be a tough guy sitting at your computer than it is, for example, to be a tough guy while being escorted to the offices of the local constabulary, or standing in front of a judge in a real court of law.

    I'll bet "keen" doesn't half describe his new-found attitude.

    1. Scorchio!!

      Re: Well, we all know.

      "I'll bet "keen" doesn't half describe his new-found attitude."

      Eager? Desperate? There still has to be a proportionate punishment, one that deters future offenders. It's not enough to merely punish.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        And to rehabilitate?

        Perhaps a non-custodial sentence recylcing computers for developing nations

        1. Scorchio!!

          Re: And to rehabilitate?

          "Perhaps a non-custodial sentence recylcing computers for developing nations"

          My initial response was 'what an excellent idea'. However, the possibilities for raising armies of vengeful script kiddy armies made me uncomfortable with it. Perhaps undoing the damage done?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            IT Angle


            How about as punishment they put him in charge of all the government web sites. Surely he would do a much better job than the billions of dollars spent on "experts" who don't know shit about IT.

        2. Matt Bryant Silver badge

          RE: And to rehabilitate?

          Don't be silly! The gubbermints of the World are looking at the rising problem of skiddies and seeking a means to nip it in the bud. Anyone caught involved in the Lulzsec or Anonyputz activities is going to get the book, the bookcase and probably the whole library thrown at them, if only in the hope of sending a message to skiddies.

  3. Cormu


    so as we all asumed the geeky script kiddie now stripped of his anom is suddenlly very co-operative , lucky he has mummy with him to wipe his tears away.

  4. Mark 65


    Can you really hold someone in police custody for more than 48hrs for DDoS?

    1. Anonymous Coward

      You would be surpised...

      If the police think, or have grounds to believe that they can think, the attack on SOCA was targetted, and that there is a hint, just a whiff, of suspicion he attached a CIA site, then that comes under the Anti-Terrorism act. Its a pretty far reaching peice of legislation.

      For example, and this I know from expericence of dealing with the consequences: scan a passport, photoshop the image so the date of birth indicates your 18 (see, IT lessons worked very well for thsi kid), and HEY - your a terrorist. No, honestly, that is what happened. Teach him to try and sneak in to Glasto!

      Anon, to protect the guilty party!

    2. Peter2 Silver badge


      AFAIK, They can hold someone for 48hrs before charging them. After they have been charged with multiple criminal offences then they can be held while "helping the police with their enquiries" for a very, very long time.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Its a crime. It causes damage.

      1. Arrrggghh-otron

        Causes damage?

        Really? Who is going to miss the SOCA website for a few hours?

        If you are running a website that makes money then you invest to protect it against things like DDoS and the innumerable script kiddies and bots that hit your servers constantly. If not then you take the rough with the smooth.

        Proportional defences relative to the worth of the resource.

      2. Mark 65

        Re:Yes - It is a crime. It causes damage.

        If I were to have an argument with you in the street and beat the shit out of you (a bit of a pasting but no gbh) in front of your kids I'd probably be treated more leniently than this dude. Who would you rather was free to walk the streets? The whole response to computer crimes is OTT *when compared to* other crimes.

    4. jonathanb Silver badge


      Attacking military and law enforcement installations is terrorism, so they can hold him for 28 days.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      28 days

      They'll find a way to tie this in to anti-terror legislation. He gets a month without charge.

      1. a cynic writes...

        "He gets a month without charge"

        They probably could have done that but for the fact they've already charged him. The original article being about his bail hearing was a bit of a clue.

  5. Anonymous Coward

    Vulnerable, agoraphobe in a a UK prison

    What a stupid farce.

    This is just some silly teenager, probably has Aspergers (or something like it) who hosted a chat server. An IRC chat server, that's all.

    I was dismayed to see Channel 4 News imply that he was a some sort of leader/lynchpin. I expect this kind of crap from the Daily Fail.

    That said, he's an idiot IF he was involved in using LOIC or DDoS. Sounds to me, like he was a cheerleader. So, he wasted his life on a computer, at least it's better than vandalising bus stops and graffiti tagging his neighbourhood. FFS!

    Only gullible fuckers think that lulzsec/Anonymous has a hierarchy. I have a feeling they're going to come down hard on this kid to:

    1. 'send a message'

    2. Look competent at solving crime i.e. for PR.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      hosted an IRC server ?

      Is that all he did ? start an ircd process ?

      If so the charges of organising botnets might make sense (if you don't understand these things).

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Paris Hilton

      RE: "I was dismayed to see Channel 4 News"

      Channel 4 News is produced by ITN. The same producers of ITV News.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Even Worse ...

        ... Channel 4 thinks Gregory Evans is some kind of infosec expert.

    3. DavCrav

      Of course

      "So, he wasted his life on a computer, at least it's better than vandalising bus stops and graffiti tagging his neighbourhood. FFS!"

      Actually, not of course. Instead of tagging a wall, causing a man to repaint it at a few hundred pounds of damage, he was involved in computer crime, which also has a monetary cost associated to it, likely significantly higher than hiring a painter and buying a can of Dulux.

      1. The Alpha Klutz

        criminal damage is good for the economy.

        Work is pretty slow for the guys who make bus stops until someone smashes one up.

        The "cyber security" industry must be worth millions, with thousands of staff. Someone has to do the damage that keeps those staff in clean clothes and doughnuts. Except for the clean clothes bit.

        It doesn't cost society anything, it actually generates wealth for society. Money doesn't disappear just because you spent it on fixing something.

        It costs society dearly when we allow a small number of individuals, mostly bankers, but other assholes as well, to collect millions of pounds they don't really need and then.... do nothing at all with it. Like they think taking money to the grave with them is some kind of funny joke. Well, it's not. Stop it.

        1. Matt Bryant Silver badge

          RE: criminal damage is good for the economy.

          "....It doesn't cost society anything...." I used to know someone that excused car-crime with the same idiocy - "it keeps people in a job, dunnit".

          It costs us ALL. I'll explain how for the economically-challenged. If it is a public entity (Police, CIA, etc) that is hacked, then taxes will spent on cleaning up after the cybervandals, fixing the problems they caused, hopefully fixing the security holes, and then on finding and catching the criminals. If it is a commercial company, then they claim from their insurance, which comes from the same companies that sell you your house/car/life insurance (and mortgage), so they recoup their costs by increasing their prices. If you have savings then they will be impacted by the increased costs to banks and other companies in tightening up their security and defending against said vandals. Taxpayer money still gets paid on catching the guilty.

          You are truly ignorant if you think cybercrime has no cost. A fail of epic proportions.

      2. bean520

        Except he wasn't...

        ...he was hosting a chat server. There is no evidence he was actually involved in attacks

        1. a cynic writes...

          "There is no evidence he was actually involved in attacks..."

          ...other than whatever is on his machine (currently in Police custody), his public statements six weeks ago when his name has been public knowledge, any network traffic intercepted since then and whatever he's telling the Police now in an effort to "co-operate".

          On the other hand we can definitively say that he was only hosting a chat server as an unnamed person with an axe to grind said so in a tweet. You can't get more solid evidence than that.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Thumb Down

          on the other hand

          what evidence that he wasn't? are you involved in the investigation? have you seen the evidence?

          1. a cynic writes...

            I've seen the chatlogs over at The Gruaniad...

            Quick summary: he isn't part of the LulzSec core group, they thought he was a useful nutter with a tendency to throw a strop and use his botnet to DDOS people.

            Genuine or fake, I would imagine he's been shown them by Inspector Knacker by now and if the assessment in the logs is accurate (and it's consistent with his medical history) he'll be spilling his guts in revenge.

    4. a cynic writes...

      A gullible fucker writes...

      Apparently I must be a "...gullible fucker..." as I always thought someone must be aiming all these instances of LOIC that the members of Anonymous were running, rather than it working from the collective unconscious. You live & learn.

      Anyway whilst I'll agree he is young & daft with the common sense of a whelk, he's a bit more than a cheerleader. At the start of May he was quoted in the bleeding Metro after his faction of Anonymous took control of and, and he was outed in retaliation.

  6. Anonymous Coward

    "insufficient information"???

    “The judge at the Westminster Magistrates' Court ruled there was insufficient information to set bail and scheduled another hearing for Saturday morning.”

    How does this happen? Were some parties deliberately withholding information for some reason?

    “The Guardian reported that FBI agents have arrived in Britain and may be given access to evidence collected by UK police.”

    Could this be why they “botched” the bail hearing? Is the FBI going to be allowed to interrogate him before he’s released? I also suspect another extradition demand, the Merkins are desperate to get their hands on some poor sap for their show trial.

    1. BristolBachelor Gold badge

      show trial

      Don't forget that we are now talking about an act of "warfare". And an attack against the CIA could be called terrorism and warfare (after all, it's far worse than taking a picture of a double-decker bus!)

      If he's a script kiddie, expect the book to be thrown at him. If he really is good (why was he caught?) then maybe he can be let-off if he turns to the dark side.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Didn't plead either way

      It says he didn't plead guilty or non-guilty. Perhaps he's hoping that if he gives up enough people higher up the chain, they just might let him off the hook or lower charges to something that will just be a slap on the wrist.

      I'd guess this is why they haven't given bail, because he hasn't pleaded either way.

      And this isn't as simple as a DDoS against a rival gaming clan. The alleged attacks caused huge losses for the companies involved. And I'm sure they're looking into far more than just the DDoS attacks that they've released to the media.

      E.g there's allegations (outside of the court room) of much deeper hacks which could potentially be considered "national security" and therefore aren't being discussed.

      I'm personally fed up with reading 'oh but all he did was host an IRC server'. Read up a bit and find out the truth before you post here. I sat in those IRC servers watching and trolling for a long time, so I know the truth.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        @Didn't plead either way

        "I sat in those IRC servers watching and trolling for a long time"

        So you spent months spying on a psychologically disturbed teenager via the internet?

        My fucking hero.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward


          Yeah cos I have the same illness as him. At least I will have if I'm ever arrested for any kind of crime.

          I was in those chats in my spare time to try disrupt anon. efforts, and it was successful. It doesn't take that much to make those idiots paranoid and turn against each other. Which in turn draws them away from their pathetic attacks.

          I wasn't focussed purely on a certain alleged DDoSer but rather the group as a whole. I just happened to see a certain alleged DDoSer chatting away in the public and private rooms and setting LOIC targets for the sheep followers who installed the DoS software.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Didn't plead either way

        "I'm personally fed up with reading 'oh but all he did was host an IRC server'. Read up a bit and find out the truth before you post here. I sat in those IRC servers watching and trolling for a long time, so I know the truth."

        I claimed nothing of the sort and you would know it if you had read my comment properly..

        II hope you were more observant in your (fictitious?) fraternisations with these petty criminals on their IRC channel.

        I don't think he should be let off if he is in fact guilty, I believe he must get a fair trial here and suffer a proportionate punishment for any crimes he's commited, something he will not get if the Merking get hold of him.


    3. Anonymous Coward

      Let's not jump to conclusions

      I read the "Insufficient Information" part and at first thought it sounded odd too. However, it could be for all kinds of reasons.

      He might have threatened self harm in the past, so they may want to psychologically assess him; he might have said he doesn't know where is passport is, so they may have given him another couple of days to come up with it; his parents might need a day or so to confirm they can cover any bail conditions; if the court was considering stopping his internet access to prevent further communications with his alleged conspirators, they might need extra time to figure out how to do it; he might have said he feels threatened by alleged conspirators, so they may have to consider how to protect him.

      Not saying any of these are valid reasons, plausible or true, but there could be many perfectly reasonable situations where the court decides it needs more information before setting bail conditions.

      Let's not just assume that it's for Big Brother conspiracy purposes.

      1. Scorchio!!

        Re: Let's not jump to conclusions

        "He might have threatened self harm in the past, so they may want to psychologically assess him"

        The correct term is 'psychiatrically assess him'. Psychologists participate in MDT assessments, but their expertise is not psychiatry per se. The people who bear the greatest brunt are the two doctors required for non court sectioning and the approved social worker in psychiatry (yes, only one). However psychologists cannot and do not issue psychiatric diagnoses, only psychiatrists can do this.

        The difference between psychiatrists and psychologists; the former go to med school and then choose a specialised branch of medicine, psychiatry, and further specialise in, e.g., forensic, geriatric, psychoses, eating disorders, anxiety disorders, and so on. The latter read a B.Sc. in psychology and then choose to specialise and move on to an approved doctorate in clinical psychology, in which they choose a further sub specialisation in, e.g., psycho geriatric, psychoses, etcetera. Not all psychology courses result in doctorates, and the doctorate in question is a doctorate in clinical psychology. (Psychology has become Americanised, I regret to say.) Other branches in psychology include organisational, occupational, forensic, counselling.

        The emphasis in psychology is on science, whereas in psychiatry the emphasis is on medical practitioner training in psychiatry, akin to an art or a craft.

        Psychiatrists prescribe medicines, psychologists do not although some twits occasionally argue in favour of this. I don't know about you but I'd like my prescribing officer to be well versed in anatomy, drug interactions and life saving, not in psychometrics, scientific testing and how-does-it-feel crap. That way there's a tendency for the patient to live a little longer.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Assuming the crimes were committed in the UK......

    I would hope he is tried in the UK, under UK law and given a proportionate punishment (i.e. one decided by a judge, not a politician a tabloid newspaper).

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    They're going to peg him out in a wide open space to extract a confession aren't they...

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Ryan Cleary was the guy who was doxed by Anonymous some months ago when they allegedly had a falling out. I suppose that Anonymous is not considered a terribly reliable witness, which might explain the delay in his collar being felt.

    You would have to be really terminally stupid to continue hacking so soon after being doxed. It does make me wonder if they have the right person..

  10. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    The Right to Remain Silent Restrains Discovery and Presentation of State Secrets

    "Lets hope the sentence is proportional to the crime though i.e. less than murder and lets try and keep him away from the yanks eh." .... Thomas 18 Posted Friday 24th June 2011 06:56 GMT

    They appear to be already phishing for Private Proprietary Pirate Intellectual Property, Thomas 18 ..... "...FBI agents have arrived in Britain and may be given access to evidence collected by UK police."

    Softly Softly ....... IT's a Great Long Game ..... Creation with Novel Intellectual Property Share and Dream Servering.

  11. Marcus Aurelius

    Insufficient information is not sufficient

    There is a presumption of the right to bail unless there are valid reasons raised to deny bail.

    It sounds as though his brief was asleep on the job here

  12. Richard Boyce

    If the evidence stands up

    ... then I hope that he does face extradition. Only the Americans give sentences that reflect the seriousness of the offence and therefore can offer good incentives to plea bargain and cooperate.

    Anyone who runs a botnet is victimising a lot of people and causing a great deal of expensive damage, whatever his age. Any teenager who thinks it would be cool to be a member of a gang that causes mayhem needs to see that there can be serious consequences.

    One reason that there's such pressure in the UK to reduce sentences to slaps on the wrist is that our prisons are full of addicts who have turned to crime. If our politicians decriminalised possession of drugs for personal use and gave addicts free controlled access to pure drugs, we'd have less wasted police effort, less demands on the NHS, fewer victims of burglary, theft and other crimes, less money going to organised crime, and we'd have more resources to keep problem people safely locked up for longer.


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