Four men appeared at City of Westminster Magistrates’ Court today in connection with various Anonymous and LulzSec internet attacks, and were granted bail on the condition that they did not use specific online nicknames on the internet or IRC.
Hackers affiliated with Anonymous and LulzSec have used IRC (Internet Relay Chat) channels as their primary method of coordinating attacks and communicating with each other, using online nicknames as a veil of anonymity.
The men will break the conditions of their bail if they use specific online nicknames on websites:
20-year-old Christopher Jan Weatherhead, from Northampton, cannot use the internet nickname “Nerdo”.
Ashley Rhodes, 26, from London, is banned from calling himself “NikonElite” online.
22-year-old student Peter David Gibson, of Hartlepool, County Durham, is banned from using the name “Peter” on the internet (which must be awkward), and a 17-year-old from Chester is not allowed to use his online nickname.
The four are separately charged with conspiracy to impair the operation of a computer or hinder access to a program or data. Police arrested the men earlier this year, following a series of denial-of-service and hacking attacks against the websites of different organisations and companies.
There will, no doubt, be some raised eyebrows that the men’s bail conditions do not insist upon a complete ban on internet access, considering the nature of the allegations against them.
According to CourtNewsUK, the judge said that such an internet ban was unworkable:
Judge says it's 'unworkable' to ban four suspected 'Anonymous' hackers from using the internet after granting them bail http://t.co/LfD6Vh7
— CourtNewsUK (@CourtNewsUK) September 7, 2011
The suspected hackers are scheduled to appear at Southwark Crown Court on November 18th.
Hat-tip: The Guardian.