The 19-year-old Scotsman fingered Wednesday as a central figure of the LulzSec hacking crew is a fall guy who was framed to take the heat off the real culprit, according to unconfirmed claims from a rival group.
“We believe MET Police got the wrong guy and it happens because of lot of disinformation floating on the web,” a Thursday post on the LulzSec Exposed blog said. “LulzSec and Anonymous members are Master trolls and they are good at this.”
According to the post, penned by members of a group calling itself the Web Ninjas, the real LulzSec figure known as Topiary is a 23-year-old Swede, who stole the handle from a low-level member after he ran afoul of its parent group Anonymous. The mistaken identity was part of an elaborate ruse to confuse authorities about Topiary's true identity, the speculation claims.
The post comes a day after the Metropolitan Police said a "pre-planned intelligence-led operation" led them to a residential address in the Shetland Islands, off the North Coast of Scotland. That's where they apprehended an unnamed 19-year-old man and transported him to London for questioning. Police said they also questioned a 17-year-old from Lincolnshire and searched his home.
Thursday's post is devoid of any smoking guns, as is the case with almost all claims made in the shadowy world of anonymous people claiming to be elite hackers. For proof it points to this page purporting to contain information, pictures and videos of the real Topiary. The individual portrayed is almost certainly not that of the Scotsman arrested Wednesday.
Additional evidence comes by way of a chat log published near the bottom of this page purporting to show the real Topiary agonizing over the possibility that police are closing in on him.
“If I go hide then people will assume the dox are right,” he says, referring to the information posted on LulzSec Exposed. “So I'll just act like they failed hard.”
Several lines later, referring to the individual he stole his nick from, Topiary says: “I'm hoping someone will go after him and think it's me, then I'll act all scared etc. ANYTHING to divert attention from that fuckign nameshub.”
Of course, the chat log could have been fabricated by just about anyone, including people who want to generate doubt in the minds of Metropolitan Police investigators. With anonymous figures pursuing multiple levels of subterfuge, separating truth from fiction has become a full-time occupation for those trying to unravel this saga. ®