Lulzsec hacking accused Ryan Ackroyd in court

An alleged hacker has appeared in court accused of conspiring with three British teenagers to bring down the websites of the CIA and the UK's Serious Organised Crime Agency.

Ryan Ackroyd, 25, of Mexborough, South Yorkshire, is also charged with plotting to hack into other systems.

Westminster Magistrates' Court heard they included those of the NHS and newspaper publisher News International.

He made no plea and will next appear at Southwark Crown court on 11 May.

Mr Ackroyd is the last of four alleged members of online activists LulzSec, a spin-off of the loosely organised hacking collective Anonymous, to appear in court in Britain.

Plot claim

He faces two counts of conspiring with Jake Davis, 18, Ryan Cleary, 19, and a 17-year-old boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, to do an unauthorised act with intent to impair or with recklessness as to impair the operation of a computer between 1 February and 30 September 2011.

The indictment alleges the four plotted together and with others to carry out so-called distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks, where websites are flooded with traffic to make them crash.

They are accused of launching DDoS attacks on the Serious Organised Crime Agency, the CIA, News International, Sony, US computer game firm Bethesda, web-based game Eve Online and the fundamentalist Westboro Baptist Church in Kansas, US.

The four are also charged with conspiring to hack into computers operated by the NHS, News International, Sony, Nintendo, film studio 20th Century Fox, US public broadcaster PBS, and US computer security organisations HBGary, Black & Berg and Infraguard.

Unemployed Mr Ackroyd, of Oak Road, Mexborough, Doncaster, spoke only to confirm his name and address.

District judge Howard Riddle granted him bail until a plea and case management hearing at Southwark Crown Court on condition he does not access the internet or have in his possession any device that could access the web.

LulzSec was formed last May. Lulz is internet slang that can be interpreted as "laughs", "humour" or "amusement".

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites