Crumbs! Sounds like the law forbids freed LulzSec hacker from safely dumping his old computer

Jake Davis, formerly known as TopiaryI was bemused reading this update on the life of Jake Davis in The Register today.

Davis, known by his notorious internet handle of “Topiary” during the heady summer of the LulzSec hacking gang, was given a 24 months jail sentence just last month for his involvement in various hacks, including internet attacks against Sony and the UK’s Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA).

You might imagine that Davis would still be festering in the prison system, but because he spent 21 months in the run-up to his trial wearing an electronic tag that has been taken into consideration… and after just 37 days at Feltham Young Offenders’ Institution he is a free man once more.

Naturally, Davis has leapt back onto Twitter – creating a new account called @DoubleJake. (Is he a Jack Nicholson fan, perchance?)

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It was on Twitter, of course, that Davis carved a personality for the LulzSec crew and his spokesperson nom-de-tweet Topiary, managing to rally hundreds of thousands of followers.

Readers with long memories will remember Topiary’s final tweet (just before he was arrested):

Well, it seems (judging by his new account) that he’s changed his mind about that:

Of course, Jake Davis is not entirely free to do as he pleases.

For instance, he is banned from contacting his former LulzSec associates or – as The Register puts it – “members of the wider Anonymous collective”.

Hang on a minute. That sounds a bit tricky, doesn’t it?

Jake Davis mustn’t speak to anyone in Anonymous? Umm… that will be the Anonymous movement which is made up of “anonymous” people? How precisely is Davis supposed to obey that instruction? After all, he won’t necessarily know if someone is Anonymous or not, will he?

But there is more. Davis has been forbidden from encrypting his files (clearly the authorities are nervous that if does get up to any shenanigans, he might try to hide his activities through encryption). And, according to El Reg, he’s also “prohibited from securely wiping any data or deleting his internet history.”

Jake DavisCrumbs! That sounds a little draconian.

I hope the authorities would turn a blind eye if, for instance, Davis wants to upgrade his PC and take his old wheezing desktop to the junkyard.

After all, it’s bonkers to dispose of a computer unless you securely wipe any data contained on it. There are just too many people these days with the skills to extract sensitive information from a dumped workstation or laptop.

Or maybe the lads at Scotland Yard could offer to take any of Jake’s old computers off his hands for safe-keeping.

Graham Cluley is an award-winning keynote speaker who has given presentations around the world about cybersecurity, hackers, and online privacy. A veteran of the computer security industry since the early 1990s, he wrote the first ever version of Dr Solomon's Anti-Virus Toolkit for Windows, makes regular media appearances, and is the co-host of the popular "Smashing Security" podcast. Follow him on Twitter, Mastodon, Threads, Bluesky, or drop him an email.

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