Hacking Teen Ryan Cleary ‘Liked Heavy Metal’ Had “Dimly-Lit Bedroom” – Obviously A Cybercriminal
NEWSPAPERS rushed to trash the 19 year old Ryan Cleary as a geek, nerd and heavy metal fan. Arrested for the biggest hacks in internet history including the CIA and Sony, papers pulled out every teen nerd stereotype going to explain the incredible story of the guy who took on the CIA from Essex.
The Sun described him as a “nerdy, oddball student” and “a heavy metal fan who has been thrown out of two schools for disruptive behaviour”.
The Telegraph said that he had just returned from university was bright but “didn’t have many friends”.
The Mail had a field day delving into his mental state and paraphrasing Cleary’s mother as saying:
“her son suffers from agoraphobia and attention deficit disorder and had not left his home for four years […] She said he hardly ever left his dimly-lit bedroom which consisted of a computer with two monitors, a cooling unit, a broken TV, and a double bed“
According to the Mail, he constantly babbled to himself in webspeak, making him incomprehensible to his family members.
“He is said to have constantly spoken in computer jargon and cybertalk, which his family were unable to understand.”
The Mail added that as well as being excluded from school twice, Ryan had made a suicide attempt age 10. They all reported that Ryan’s parents are divorced: his mother Rita is a nurse, his father Neil worked previously in musical theatre and now lectures at Peterborough college and plays the tuba.
His brother Mitchell 22 prefers football to computers – a comparison the tabloids are making the most of. The Sun quoted Mitchell saying:
“Ryan is obsessed with computers. He’s a bit of a geek. That’s all he does – he’s a recluse. He locks himself in his room every day, closes the curtains and spends hours at a time online.
“He isn’t into football or sports. Computers are everything to him. I barely see him. My mum is finding this extremely hard.”
The official LulzSec Twitter account got particularly pissed with the football bit, sending out two specific tweets about the Sun’s coverage:
On the plus side, Sky News quoted an elderly neighbour on Ryan saying that “butter wouldn’t have melted in his mouth”.
Where the tabloids see nerds with broken cooling systems in their rooms, the hackers tend to see themselves a bit more heroically – LulzSec describe themselves as “pirate-ninjas” and “lulzy individuals” fighting for freedom of information. Surprisingly none of those words turned up in the papers’ coverage.
LulzSec said that Ryan played a minor role with them, moderating messageboards and hosting one of their websites, contrary to other reports that he was a leader in the group. One danger is that he could reveal the names or addresses of other members of the group, tearing it apart from the inside.