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Lizard Squad teen pleads guilty to 23 charges of harassment

Swatting spree targeted girls who declined his friend requests.

A 17-year-old member of hacking group Lizard Squad has pleaded guilty to 23 charges relating to online harassment.

The teenager, from British Columbia in Canada, appeared in court this week charged with various counts of public mischief, criminal harassment and extortion.

A local news report (via Ars Technica) details how the teen was revealed to have specifically targeted young female gamers and their parents.

During a day-long hearing, the court heard how the defendant - who cannot be named due to his age - would contact girls via League of Legends or Twitter, then set to work harassing them if they declined his friend requests.

A frequent tactic of his was to phone a victim's local police force and state that he was holding the girl's family hostage, or that he had killed someone in the house.

He would also post personal contact information online and repeatedly call victims late at night.

Victims ranged in location from B.C. to states across the US, including Minnesota, Utah, Arizona, Ohio and California.

One woman, a student at University of Arizona in Tucson, was forced to drop out of her course due to the teen's continued harassment. Armed police were called to her house twice within the same week, and family members were removed from the home at gunpoint. The Lizard Squad member later publicly bragged about his actions on Twitter.

The teen's exploits ended after an eight-hour livestream of himself on YouTube swatting multiple people, during which viewers reported him to the police.

He will now be held on remand for 169 days. Sentencing is due to resume on 29th June.

It's not the first time that former Lizard Squad members have been arrested. An 18-year-old UK man was arrested in January after cyber attacks crippled PlayStation and Xbox services over Christmas. He was also charged with swatting.

Another UK-based Lizard Squad member, a 22-year-old from Twickenham, was arrested on 31st December.

The online hacking collective has been responsible for countless of DDOS attacks, swatting attempts and other illegal activities over the past 12 months - including at one point issuing a hoax bomb threat against then Sony Online Entertainment boss John Smedley.