Mustafa Al-Bassam

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Mustafa Al-Bassam
2017-12-27 Mustafa Al-Bassam 7793.jpg
Mustafa Al-Bassam giving a talk at the 34th Chaos Communication Congress (2017)
BornJanuary 1995 (age 24)
Baghdad, Iraq[citation needed]
ResidenceLondon, United Kingdom
Other namesTflow, Tobias Glockner
EducationKing's College London, University College London
OccupationSoftware Engineer, Political Activist, PhD Student
OrganizationLulzSec, Anonymous
Known forFounder of LulzSec
Criminal chargeComputer hacking

Mustafa Al-Bassam (born January 1995),[1] alias Tflow,[2] is a former black hat hacker[3][4] who was one of the six core members of LulzSec[5] during its 50-day spree of attacks in the spring of 2011.[6] At the time of the so-called "50 Days of Lulz", Al-Bassam was 16 years old and living as a student in London.[7] 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.[8] Tflow also managed the website during its short run in June 2011.[9][10] In 2014 he was a technology volunteer with Privacy International in London.[11] Currently, as of 2016, he is a PhD student in the Information Security Group at University College London. [12][13]

Rise to prominence[edit]

In February 2011, HBGaryFederal CEO Aaron Barr claimed he was going to expose the identities of hackers from Anonymous.[7] 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,[14] defaced its homepage and leaked more than 70,000 private company emails,[15] 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[edit]

On 20 July 2011, it was announced on Fox News and other press outlets[16][17][18] 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,[19] the FBI affiliate "Infragard",[20] PBS[21][22] and Sony.[23] 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.[24] He pleaded guilty to computer misuse and received a 20-month suspended sentence[25] 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.[26][27]


After serving his sentence, Al-Bassam started to study computer science at King's College London.[28] In 2016 he was listed by Forbes as one of the 30 Under 30 in the Technology section.[29] By that time, he was working on projects focused on transparency as well as shedding light on government deployed malware.[29][30]


  1. ^ Mcdermott, Kerry (2013-04-09). "Mustafa Al-Bassam: Pictured: The British teenage hacker, 18, who took part in cyber attacks on the CIA". Retrieved 2013-10-30.
  2. ^ "Tobias Glockner (let_it_tflow) on Twitter". Retrieved 2013-10-30.
  3. ^ "Notorious LulzSec Hacker 'Tflow' Released on Bail". Fox News. 2011-07-22. Retrieved 2013-10-30.
  4. ^ Halliday, Josh. "LulzSec: the members and the enemies". The Guardian. Retrieved 2013-10-30.
  5. ^ "Lulzsec hacker group handed jail sentences". 2013-05-16. Retrieved 2013-10-30.
  6. ^ Flock, Elizabeth (2011-06-27). "LulzSec disbands: A timeline of 50 days of hacks". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2013-10-30.
  7. ^ a b "The LulzSec hackers who boasted they were "Gods" await their sentence". 2013-05-16. Retrieved 2013-10-30.
  8. ^ Bright, Peter (2012-03-10). "With arrests, HBGary hack saga finally ends". Ars Technica. Retrieved 2013-10-30.
  9. ^ Arthur, Charles; Gallagher, Ryan (2011-06-24). "LulzSec IRC leak: the full record". Retrieved 2013-10-30.
  10. ^ "Twitter / let_it_tflow: Did you know that". Retrieved 2013-10-30.
  11. ^ "PI blog author profiles". Privacy International. 2014-05-22. Archived from the original on 2014-05-24. Retrieved 2014-05-23.
  12. ^ Al-Bassam, Mustafa (2016-10-30). "Mustafa Al-Bassam - Research Homepage". Retrieved 2017-09-23.
  13. ^ Meiklejohn, Sarah (2011-10-31). "Sarah Meiklejohn". Retrieved 2017-09-23.
  14. ^ "Session Start: Mon Feb 07 03:17:59 2011 Session Ident: #ophbgary". 2011-02-07. Retrieved 2013-10-30.
  15. ^ "HBGary Federal's Aaron Barr Resigns After Anonymous Hack Scandal". Forbes. 2011-02-28. Retrieved 2013-10-30.
  16. ^ "Leading Member of LulzSec Hacker Squad Arrested in London". Fox News. 2011-07-19. Retrieved 2013-10-30.
  17. ^ Bright, Peter (2011-07-20). "FBI arrests 16 Anons across US; UK police pick up LulzSec member". Ars Technica. Retrieved 2013-10-30.
  18. ^ "Hacker Arrests May Have Included Core Member Of LulzSec". Forbes. 2011-07-19. Retrieved 2013-10-30.
  19. ^ " Hacked By Group Lulz Security". 2011-05-10. Retrieved 2013-10-30.
  20. ^ Satter, Raphael G. (2011-06-05). "LulzSec Hackers Claim Breach Of FBI Affiliate Infragard Atlanta". Retrieved 2013-10-30.
  21. ^ "PBS website hacked, defaced after WikiLeaks documentary evokes online ire". 2011-05-30. Retrieved 2013-10-30.
  22. ^ "Sites Hacked; Readers' Data Not Compromised". PBS NewsHour. 2011-05-30. Retrieved 2013-10-30.
  23. ^ Albanesius, Chloe (2011-06-03). "Sony LulzSec Hack: What You Need to Know". Retrieved 2013-10-30.
  24. ^ "Mustafa Al-Bassam". Retrieved 2013-10-30.
  25. ^ "LulzSec hackers handed down prison terms, suspended sentence in Britain". RT News. 2013-05-16. Retrieved 2013-10-30.
  26. ^ "Mustafa Al-Bassam (musalbas) on Twitter". Retrieved 2013-10-30.
  27. ^ "Were you banned from the internet for two years like Jake Davis? |". Retrieved 2013-10-30.
  28. ^ "About me". Mustafa Al-Bassam personal website. Retrieved 2016-04-13.
  29. ^ a b "Meet the 30 Under 30: Technology". Forbes. Retrieved 2016-04-13.
  30. ^ "Stunts -- Disruption Network Lab". Stunt. Retrieved 2016-04-13.