Welcome to the Age of Hacker Celebrity. It used to be that hackers became notorious after they got caught. Now we have hackers who are running amok and generating news stories on a daily – sometimes hourly – basis. Julian Assange – Mr. WikiLeaks – is a former hacker but still operates with a hacker ethos. The guy who has caused the most trouble for Assange is Adrian Lamo, the ex-hacker who linked Bradley Manning to WikiLeaks. As for active hackers, we have Anonymous, the hacktivist collective. They appeared on my radar screen a few years ago because they organized public demonstrations against Scientology. I made a video about one of their events in Philadelphia. They have aligned themselves with WikiLeaks. On the other end of the spectrum is a hacker known as The Jester – @th3j35t3r on Twitter. He is anti-Assange and has attacked the WikiLeaks website. He also has attacked websites run by Islamic jihadists. He teamed up briefly with Anonmous to attack websites run by Westboro Baptist Church. And then we have LulzSec – short for Lulz Security. They are causing mayhem at a frequency that I’ve never seen. And they’re getting into fights with The Jester, Anonymous, and the denizens of 4chan (don’t click if you don’t like porn). The Jester is vowing to expose LulzSec. It seems that somebody is due to get, as the kids say, butthurt. Right now, LulzSec’s victims are the only ones suffering. On Thursday, LulzSec unloaded 62,000 email addresses and passwords to be exploited on a first-come, first-serve basis.

On Wednesday, LulzSec claimed to have knocked the CIA’s website offline. All the while there is the hyperactive @LulzSec on Twitter, which now has more than 180,000 followers. Hyperactive as in the account published more than 100 tweets or retweets on Thursday alone. To bring this full circle, WikiLeaks issued a statement Thursday on its Facebook page regarding LulzSec:

WikiLeaks does not endorse nor condemn the actions undertaken by LulzSec, an organization that has claimed responsibility for cyberattacks on numerous organizations including PBS, Sony Entertainment and the CIA.Furthermore, WikiLeaks is not affiliated, partly or fully, with LulzSec, nor is LulzSec affiliated with WikiLeaks. LulzSec’s actions, motive and modus operandi all remain completely separate from WikiLeaks.