For 50 days, the anonymous hacker consortium LulzSec wreaked havoc on everyone from international video game makers to branches of the federal government involved in national security.

The group hacked Sony, the Pentagon, the CIA, and private companies associated with the FBI among others, and, in their own words, they did it “for the raw, uninterrupted, chaotic thrill of entertainment and anarchy.” In other words, “lulz.”

Seven weeks later, they have announced their retirement.

In a PasteBin posting dated June 25, referred to as, “our final release,” LulzSec said that “it’s time to say bon voyage. Our planned 50 day cruise has expired, and we must now sail into the distance.”  The statement is being interpreted as meaning that the group, which claims “a crew of six,” will stop hacking large corporations and government agencies.

That said, the group has not disclaimed the consequences of their hacks, and hopes that other groups of hackers pick up where they left off: “We hope, wish, even beg, that the movement manifests itself into a revolution that can continue on without us,” they write, adding, “Please don’t stop.”

In a Skype interview with a reporter from the Associated Press, one self-professed LulzSec hacker explained the decision. “The press are getting bored of us, and we’re getting bored of us,” the hacker said. Nevertheless, the group is still sitting on an estimated 5 gigabytes of law enforcement and government data collected from agencies around the world. It is believed that they still plan on releasing that data over the next few weeks. On Saturday, it released several hundred files, many of them detailing AT&T’s plans for a new wireless broadband network, though the company has refused to confirm or deny this.

Security analysts claim that the reason they have stopped active hacking is precisely because of the attention they have garnered by attacking such high-profile targets. LulzSec’s members themselves are now targeted by the government, and by continuing their hacking activities they will only make themselves more vulnerable to detection.

On the other hand, they seem to have inspired other groups of hackers who will continue what they started, explains Kevin Mitnick, a security consultant. “They can sit back and watch the mayhem and not risk being captured,” he says. A former hacker himself, Mitnick spent five years in prison, including eight months in solitary, for stealing corporate secrets and breaking into the U.S. Defense Warning System.

TechDirt agrees, saying that, “The end of LulzSec is not the end of hactivism.”

Read More at PasteBin
Read More at Silicon Valley
See a graphic overview of hacking and hackers at Gadgets and Gizmos