FBI searches home in Web site hacking case

The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) searched the home of at least one man suspected of being a member of the Deceptive Duo, which has claimed responsibility for defacing government Web sites.

The San Francisco field office of the FBI on Monday searched the Pleasanton, California, home of Robert Lyttle, according to Andrew Black, a public relations officer with the San Francisco FBI. The search warrant was in connection with the Deceptive Duo case, Black said.

A number of media outlets have reported that another suspect’s home in Florida was searched over the weekend, but Black was unable to confirm those reports. Representatives of the North Miami Beach field office were unaware of the case.

Further information about the case and the search warrants have been sealed, according to Chris Murray, a spokesman for the Washington, D.C., FBI field office, which is coordinating the case.

No arrests have been made, Murray said.

The Deceptive Duo took credit for a series of high-profile defacements of government Web sites in early May, which the group said were designed to highlight the poor computer security practices used by many government agencies. The Deceptive Duo claimed responsibility for defacing the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration, the U.S. Department of Defense and other government sites.

If arrests are made in the case, the penalties faced by the perpetrators could be stiffer than in the past. The Patriot Act, passed in the aftermath of Sept. 11, now classifies Web site hacking as terrorism.