LONDON – The hacker group known as Lulz Security claimed Wednesday that it successfully brought down two Brazilian government websites in fresh attacks.
It came after British teenager Ryan Cleary was taken into custody Monday night for his alleged involvement with the international computer hacking group, which claims to have targeted several high-profile organizations recently, including the CIA, US Senate, an affiliate of the FBI and Sony's PlayStation Network.
In a Twitter message posted early Wednesday morning, LulzSecBrazil wrote, "TANGO DOWN brasil.gov.br & presidencia.gov.br." The main LulzSec page then tweeted, "Our Brazilian unit is making progress. Well done @LulzSecBrazil, brothers!"
The websites referenced are the official pages of the Brazilian government and the president's office. They remained inaccessible Wednesday morning.
On Monday, Lulz Security claimed that it knocked offline the site of Britain's Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA). Computer security firm Sophos said the SOCA website was sporadically inaccessible following the attack.
Cleary, a 19-year-old from Essex, southeastern England, remained in police custody Wednesday. He is suspected of orchestrating online attacks on SOCA and the CIA from his bedroom and of involvement in LulzSec's apparent infiltration of databases at Sony, which disrupted online gamers for weeks.
London's Metropolitan Police said that Cleary's arrest followed a joint investigation with the FBI "into network intrusions and Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks against a number of international business and intelligence agencies by what is believed to be the same hacking group."
British authorities had yet to officially confirm whether they suspect that Cleary -- who was named locally but not by police -- was directly involved in the activities of Lulz Security, but police sources alleged that he was a "very significant" player within LulzSec.
Attacks on SOCA's public website, which was bombarded with so much traffic Monday that it could not operate, immediately ceased when the teenager's computers were intercepted, according to The (London) Times.
Cleary's personal details, including his address and phone number, were published online last month by the hacking collective Anonymous after one of its members, called "Ryan," criticized its leadership and attacked its websites, the report said.
Using a "botnet" army of more than 10,000 computers, "Ryan" is understood to have obtained and published 653 IP addresses of Anonymous leaders. Members accused him of acting on behalf of the government and hacking into Sony's PlayStation network.
"He [Cleary] stuck his hand in the wasphive, and the response was he got hurt," one Anonymous member told the paper. Cleary's brother, Mitchell Cleary, claimed that the online targeting happened after the teen upset the WikiLeaks organization.
But Lulz Security claimed Tuesday that Ryan Cleary was not part of the organization.
"Ryan Cleary is not a part of LulzSec; we house one of our many legitimate chatrooms on his IRC server, but that's it," a tweet from Lulz Security said. "Clearly the UK police are so desperate to catch us that they've gone and arrested someone who is, at best, mildly associated with us. Lame."