This is the 18-year-old British hacker who joined in high-tech attacks on the CIA and the Serious Organised Crime Agency.
A-Level student Mustafa Al-Bassam, who until now had his identity protected because of his age, previously admitted two computer crime charges relating to notorious hacker collective Lulzsec.
During the attacks on February 1, 2011, members of the loosely-organised group hijacked computers to overwhelm the systems of major bodies including Sony and newspaper publisher News International.
The so-called ‘distributed denial of service’ attacks (DDoS) work by overwhelming target servers with useless data and flooding computers with traffic.
Al-Bassam also pleaded guilty to a longer-running hacking campaign that saw data stolen from the systems of organisations including 20th Century Fox, Nintendo, the NHS, and the Arizona State Police.
Two further charges, in which he was accused alongside others of posting confidential documents on the web for others to see, have been dropped by prosecutors.
Al-Bassam, who turned 18 in January, was not present at Southwark Crown Court this morning, where co-accused Ryan Ackroyd, 26, and Jake Davis, 20, were due to stand trial on similar charges.
Ackroyd, from Doncaster, who was central to the campaign waged by Lulzsec when it launched the attacks in 2011, changed his plea to a key charge at the last minute.
He is the last of four British members of the shady online outfit, whose victims included the Pentagon, the CIA, and the UK’s Serious and Organised Crime Agency, to be convicted.
Prosecutors announced they were satisfied with two charges Davis pleaded guilty to at an earlier hearing.
Davis, known by the alias ‘Topiary’, took part in the cyber assaults from his bedroom in the Shetland Islands, and has been bailed ahead of sentencing.
Ryan Cleary, 21, of Wickford, Essex, previously admitted joining the hack attacks, and is currently awaiting sentencing.
Lulzsec: Jake Davis, 20, is pictured left outside Westminster Crown Court 2011, while Ryan Cleary, 21, is seen right outside Southwark Crown Court, also in 2011
He controlled a ‘botnet’ of up to half a million compromised computers which he used to launch DDoS attacks against websites.
The name Lulzsec is a combination of ‘lulz’ or ‘lols’, meaning ‘laugh out loud’ and security.
Al-Bassam, of Peckham, southeast London, admits two counts of conspiring to do an unauthorised act with intent, or reckless as to, impairing the operation of computer. He was bailed ahead of sentencing.
Other high-profile victims of the online outfit included electronics giant Sony, film studios 20th Century Fox, and the Arizona State Police.
Sandip Patel, prosecuting, said the Crown Prosecution Service was prepared to drop a separate hacking charge against Ackroyd on the basis of his guilty plea.
He said: ‘The defendant now acknowledges, as borne out by the evidence, that he was a member of Lulzsec.
‘He was the hacker – they turned to him for his expertise as a hacker.
‘In respect of some of the victims he now acknowledges he was ‘Kayla’, a 16-year-old girl, amongst others.’ Kayla is an alias Ackroyd used online to hide his true identity.
Ackroyd admitted a charge which accused him of hacking into a series of organisations’ computer systems between February 1, 2011, and September 2 the same year.
He continues to deny a separate allegation of taking part in so-called ‘distributed denial of service attacks’, which overwhelm computers with useless data, earlier that year.
That charge is to be formally withdrawn by the prosecution at the next hearing.
Adjourning proceedings, Judge Deborah Taylor told him: ‘I’m adjourning this case for sentencing until May 14.
‘I’m granting you bail on the same conditions as before.’