A federally sealed search warrant was executed by the FBI in Hamilton Township but no arrests have been made. While much of the news appears to be reporting that it was an area “teen” the actual age of the target is unknown. Speculation aims at a hacker with the handle m_nerva (who lives in Ohio), outed by LulzSec as one of the “snitches” who ousted 19-year-old Ryan Cleary leading to his arrest in the U.K. on suspicion of having a connection to the hacker group.
Mike Brooks, a spokesman for the FBI’s Cincinnati office, told CNET today that he couldn’t comment beyond the fact that on Monday the FBI executed a sealed federal search warrant in Saint Clair Township. He also said he couldn’t comment on the identity of the target of the investigation.
“I’ve been asked questions if that’s related to the LulzSec case or to the arrest of Ryan Cleary in Great Britain, and I can’t comment, either to confirm or deny that,” Brooks added.
No one was charged after the warrant was served, Brooks told WKRC. But deputies from the local county were on standby outside the house while the search was being conducted, according to Deputy Chief Anthony Dwyer.
Earlier this month, the criminal hacker group, LulzSec, signaled their break up, but this certainly has not ended the manhunt for their members. During their run, LulzSec used DDoS to strike down the CIA website among others and dropped more than 100k passwords and e-mail addresses into the public domain. Their reign of mayhem lasted approximately 50 days and ended with a release of documents from AZDPS and goaded disenfranchised hackers to attack government websites and affiliates. While their methods were unsophisticated and primitive, wielding antics largely juvenile, LulzSec managed to garner a great deal of media attention.
After the arrest of Cleary, LulzSec “dropped docs” via Pastebin on two individuals they identified as hackers who leaked the information on the U.K. teen, leading to his arrest. One of these “snitches”, identified as m_nerva, just happens to have an address that places him in Hamilton, Ohio. The Pastebin post stated “snitches get stitches,” in an obvious attempt to goad the FBI and other law enforcement agencies to arrest the individuals who released the logs that led to Cleary’s arrest.
The Pastebin release also implicates m_nerva as having bragged about hacking the video game Deus Ex and “was/is involved in countless other cybercrimes.”
As no arrests have been made at this time, it may be the case that the FBI has no evidence on their target to directly connect them to LulzSec or any other crimes. However, the coincidence of m_nerva’s location and LulzSec’s release naming him as one of the snitches who got Cleary taken by Scotland Yard suggests that there might be a strong connection here.