The 50-day campaign of online mayhem that was the existence of Lulz Security will go down in Internet history for any number of reasons. The group of six hackers took down the Web sites of the CIA and the U.S. Congress, exposed a massive amount of documents from Arizona law enforcement agencies, posted a story about Tupac Shakur living in New Zealand on the PBS Web site, and dogged Sony like a well-trained terrier. Along the way, the group styled itself as both an anarchic team of miscreants and a legitimate activist organization, issuing a manifesto and inviting fellow hackers to target corporations and government sites in its Operation Anti-Security. Now that it has officially gone dark, people are trying to piece together an idea of a legacy the group's antics left us with. In fact, it's pretty hard to narrow it down. But here are a few analysts' suggestions for different takeaways.
The LulzSec model will be the precedent for organized hacking in the future: According to PC Magazine's Damon Poeter, the group's campaign demonstrated a new type of organization for hacktivist groups. "The bumbling, opportunistic raid on Sarah Palin's Yahoo email account back in 2008 by anonymous members of 4Chan's /b/ board seems like ages ago," he writes. LulzSec brought together a strong brand name and identity (maintained by its hyperactive but clever Twitter feed), combined with a tight-knit "cadre" that could work together effectively and, most importantly, keep its secrets (so far). They got in, they did what they came to do, and they got out before things too hot.