The British Metropolitan police – aka Scotland Yard – has issued a public warning to UK cyber activists linked to the Anonymous collective.
“The investigation into the criminal activity of so-called ‘hacktivist’ groups #Anonymous and #LulzSec continues. We [also] want to remind people of the law in this area,” Scotland Yard wrote in an official (extended) tweet.
“Anyone considering accessing a computer without authority should understand such acts are unlawful and can carry a term of imprisonment. Under UK legislation, it is an offense if a person acts from within the UK upon a computer anywhere else in the world. [In addition], it is an offense [for] someone anywhere else in the world to criminally affect a computer within the UK.”
The Met also warned that anyone who gains unauthorized access or modifies computer material may be liable to up to 2 years in prison.
Other offenses, such as impairing and preventing access to a program or system, could result in 10 years imprisonment upon conviction.
Unsurprisingly, Scotland Yard has been forced to quadruple its cybercrime unit to 85 officers as it struggles to contend with multiple hack and extract operations conducted by individuals with ties to Anonymous.
The Met’s very public warning comes just weeks after British law enforcement arrested 18-year-old Jake Davis, a senior LulzSec member known as “Topiary.”
Davis stands accused of extracting data from NHS computers, attacking News International and targeting the UK Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA).
Predictably, Anonymous reacted to Scotland Yard’s communiqué with a succinct tweet of its own, stating: “Dear Met: When injustice becomes law, rebellion becomes a duty… Also, unlawful does not equal illegitimate. We will not accept laws that the ruling class ignores whenever they choose to. #FreeTopiary.”