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Galway hacker faces up to 20 years if convicted



Date Published: 07-Mar-2012

A Claregalway man is facing the prospect of up to 20 years in a US prison after he was named this week by the FBI as a founder member of an international internet hacking group.

Darren Martyn from Cloonbiggeen, Claregalway, is charged with two counts of computer hacking conspiracy – each conspiracy count carries a maximum sentence of ten years in prison.

Mr Martyn is alleged by the FBI to be a member of ‘LulzSec’, a group of internet hackers that is a spin-off of the Anonymous hacking group. Both groups have launched numerous cyber attacks on high profile websites around the world.

Mr Martyn, a biopharmaceutical chemistry student at NUI Galway and a past pupil of Calasanctius College, Oranmore, is listed in the FBI’s court papers as being 25, however, it is understood he is only 19 or 20.

He along with four others, including one Offaly teenager Donncha O’Cearbhail (19), and three others in the UK and US, were charged this week in New York for computer hacking and other crimes.

The FBI claims that Mr Martyn (also known as ‘pwnsauce’, ‘‘raepsauce’ and ‘networkkitten’) and the other defendants named in court papers, “launched cyber attacks on, and gained unauthorised access to,” the websites and computers of Fine Gael, Sony, internet security firm HBGary and Fox broadcasting.

When contacted by the Connacht Tribune, his mother Lisa pleaded for privacy and said: “It is a very upsetting time for the family”.

The FBI issued a statement saying the 24-page indictment against My Martyn and the other defendants are “merely accusations” and they remain “innocent unless and until proven guilty”.

People who know Mr Martyn describe him as a quiet, shy, highly intelligent man who has always had an interest in computers. He has been honoured with awards in the past for his science and technology skills at Calasanctius College, where he completed his Leaving Certificate two years ago. His mother Lisa works in the Claregalway Naíonra and his father, Anthony, is a mechanic. They were described by locals yesterday as a “lovely, decent family”.

All posts were deleted from Mr Martyn’s ‘wall’ on social networking site Facebook on Tuesday night but his lists of activities remain, including ‘Hacking Computers’, ‘Ethical Hacking’ and ‘Lock Picking’. He lists as his employers, ‘Resident Pirate’ at Nyan Cat. There are also pictures uploaded on his Facebook page, apparently showing how to intercept emails and hack websites.

He is reported to have taken to the internet Tuesday night to say he was a “reformed hacker” and that he was “bloody frightened” by the FBI investigation.

The Irish Examiner also quoted Mr Martyn as saying he “knew it would come out eventually” and that being involved in illegal hacking was “probably the most stupid thing you could do”.

He was referenced by his username, pwnsauce, in a confidential conference call between the Metropolitan Police in London and the FBI, which was intercepted by hackers and posted onto the internet recently. During that phone call, the FBI said they had an extensive file on his activities.

Mr Martyn was this week charged in the Southern District of New York District Court.

The 24-page FBI indictment states that Mr Martyn is a leading member of LulzSec. The FBI has linked him to the online break-in of the Fine Gael website in 2011.

Last year Gardaí from the Dublin based Computer Crime Investigation Unit arrested him and Mr O’Cearbhail and they were questioned separately for a day at Tullamore and Galway Garda Stations. They were detained under Section 4 of the 1984 Criminal Justice Act and Gardaí confirmed at the time that computer and other media equipment had been seized. He was subsequently released without charge.

In the FBI indictment, it is claimed that Mr Martyn was one of the members of the Anonymous organisation, which took responsibility for hacking Visa, Mastercard and PayPal websites, who formed the splinter hacking group LulzSec.

See full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Galway in Days Gone By

The way we were – Protecting archives of our past



A photo of Galway city centre from the county council's archives

People’s living conditions less than 100 years ago were frightening. We have come a long way. We talk about water charges today, but back then the local District Councils were erecting pumps for local communities and the lovely town of Mountbellew, according to Council minutes, had open sewers,” says Galway County Council archivist Patria McWalter.

Patria believes we “need to take pride in our history, and we should take the same pride in our historical records as we do in our built heritage”. When you see the wealth of material in her care, this belief makes sense.

She is in charge of caring for the rich collection of administrative records owned by Galway County Council and says “these records are as much part of our history as the Rock of Cashel is. They document our lives and our ancestors’ lives. And nobody can plan for the future unless you learn from the past, what worked and what didn’t”.

Archivists and librarians are often unfairly regarded as being dry, academic types, but that’s certainly not true of Patria. Her enthusiasm is infectious as she turns the pages of several minute books from Galway’s Rural District Councils, all of them at least 100 years old.

Part of her role involved cataloguing all the records of the Councils – Ballinasloe, Clifden, Galway, Gort, Loughrea, Mountbellew, Portumna and Tuam. These records mostly consisted of minutes of various meetings.

When she was cataloguing them she realised their worth to local historians and researchers, so she decided to compile a guide to their content. The result is For the Record: The Archives of Galway’s Rural District Councils, which will be a valuable asset to anybody with an interest in history.

Many representatives on these Councils were local personalities and several were arrested during the political upheaval of the era, she explains.

And, ushering in a new era in history, women were allowed to sit on these Rural District Councils – at the time they were not allowed to sit on County Councils.

All of this information is included in Patria’s introductory essay to the attractively produced A4 size guide, which gives a glimpse into how these Rural Councils operated and the way political thinking changed in Ireland during a short 26-year period. In the early 1900s, these Councils supported Home Rule, but by 1920, they were calling for full independence and refusing to recognise the British administration.

“I love the tone,” says Patria of the minutes from meetings. “The language was very emotive.”

That was certainly true of the Gort Rural District Council. At a meeting in 1907, following riots in Dublin at the premiere of JM Synge’s play, The Playboy of the Western World the councillors’ response was vehement. They recorded their decision to “protest most emphatically against the libellous comedy, The Playboy of the Western World, that was belched forth during the past week in the Abbey Theatre, Dublin, under the fostering care of Lady Gregory and Mr Yeats. We congratulate the good people of Dublin in howling down the gross buffoonery and immoral suggestions that are scattered throughout this scandalous performance.


For more from the archives see this week’s Tribunes here

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Archive News

Real Galway flavour to intermediate club hurling battle in Birr



Date Published: 23-Jan-2013


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Archive News

Athenry fail to take chances as they bow out of Junior Cup



Date Published: 29-Jan-2013

Athenry FC 1

Kilbarrack United 2

(After extra time)

For the second year in succession Athenry were done in extra time in the FAI Junior Cup as last season’s beaten finalist’s came from behind to snatch an excellent game in Moanbawn on Sunday afternoon.

On a heavy pitch that was only playable following extensive groundwork by club officials all morning, the home side were by far the better side in the opening half, but failed to take advantage of a number of opportunities that came their way.

An Alan O’Donovan penalty gave them a merited advantage just after the restart, but thereafter were on the back foot as Kilbarrack took over, but for all their pressing, the home rearguard were dealing comfortably with their forays.

However they were struck a body blow just six minutes from time, as big striker Keith Kirwan was left all alone at the far post to head the equaliser and from that point on the Dubliners were the better side.

They started off the extra time in the ascendancy and enjoying all the momentum before striking for a good winning goal on 104 minutes. A strong bench allowed them to make some necessary changes and it was not a facility that was available to Athenry manager Gabriel Glavin.

With Gary Forde and Gary Delaney out through suspension following their sending off against OLBC in the previous round, and Seamie Crowe injured, it left their bench rather threadbare with just a number of young squad players available.

Playing with the aid of the slight incline and any wind advantage going, the home side had a Connor Cannon effort on target in the opening minute, while John Meleady was just over with a flick at the other end.

Meleady then tested Andrew Walsh who saved comfortably, before the goalkeeper pulled off a brilliant double save on 14 minutes.

Firstly he went full length to push away a Meleady shot and was then back on his feet to parry David Jackson’s close-range rebound.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Sentinel.

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