Mustafa Al-Bassam giving a talk at the 34th Chaos Communication Congress (2017)
January 1995 (age 23)|
Baghdad, Iraq
|Residence||London, United Kingdom|
|Other names||Tflow, Tobias Glockner|
|Education||King's College London, University College London|
|Occupation||Software Engineer, Political Activist, PhD Student|
|Known for||Founder of LulzSec|
|Criminal charge||Computer hacking|
Mustafa Al-Bassam (born January 1995), alias Tflow, is a former black hat hacker who was one of the six core members of LulzSec during its 50-day spree of attacks in the spring of 2011. At the time of the so-called "50 Days of Lulz", Al-Bassam was 16 years old and living as a student in London. He is one of the affiliates of the online association of "hacktivists" known as Anonymous that targeted HBGary and HBGaryFederal in February 2011, having done much of the actual hacking work. Tflow also managed the LulzSecurity.com website during its short run in June 2011. In 2014 he was a technology volunteer with Privacy International in London. Currently, as of 2016, he is a PhD student in the Information Security Group at University College London. 
Rise to prominence
In February 2011, HBGaryFederal CEO Aaron Barr claimed he was going to expose the identities of hackers from Anonymous. Mustafa Al-Bassam, going by "Tflow" at the time, came across this information and shared it with co-conspirators Jake Davis, Hector Monsegur and others. Chat logs from the AnonOps IRC network demonstrate Tflow's integral role in the operation which hacked the servers of HBGaryFederal, defaced its homepage and leaked more than 70,000 private company emails, doing millions of dollars worth of damage. During the next several months, Tflow and fellow hacktivists Topiary, Sabu, Kayla, Pwnsauce and Palladium began searching for vulnerabilities in high level computer systems. During this time, Tflow and Topiary are credited with inventing the name "LulzSec" for the hacking group they were forming.
Arrest and legal proceedings
On 20 July 2011, it was announced on Fox News and other press outlets that London's Metropolitan Police had arrested a 16-year-old student in London who was alleged to have used the nickname "Tflow" in a series of high-profile attacks on fox.com, the FBI affiliate "Infragard", PBS and Sony. For legal reasons, his name could not be disclosed for nearly two more years. On 9 April 2013, Tflow's full name was revealed along with his picture on multiple news outlets throughout the Internet. He pleaded guilty to computer misuse and received a 20-month suspended sentence with 500 hours of unpaid community service work. He is currently free and back on the internet after a nearly two-year internet ban imposed by police.
After serving his sentence, Al-Bassam started to study computer science at King's College London. In 2016 he was listed by Forbes as one of the 30 Under 30 in the Technology section. By that time, he was working on projects focused on transparency as well as shedding light on government deployed malware.
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- "About me". Mustafa Al-Bassam personal website. Retrieved 2016-04-13.
- "Meet the 30 Under 30: Technology". Forbes. Retrieved 2016-04-13.
- "Stunts -- Disruption Network Lab". Stunt. Retrieved 2016-04-13.
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