Government

LulzSec member 'Sabu' turns on cohorts in FBI sting

LulzSec receives a body blow with the arrest of six individuals, most notably one core member, Hector Monsegur, who is said to have been turned by the FBI into assisting their investigation.

An investigation into the criminal activity of LulzSec has resulted in the arrests of six individuals both in the U.S. and abroad, dealing a serious blow to the group loosely affiliated with Anonymous as well as AntiSec. The investigation involved a number of law enforcement agencies, most notably the Federal Bureau of Investigation, whose agents managed to flip the so-called "mastermind" of LulzSec, Hector Xavier Monsegur -- known by his alias Sabu within the LulzSec circles.

The Fox News report describes the turning of Monsegur as a mafia-type figure who elected to help the Feds when he was threatened with a prison sentence that would separate him from his young children.

On Aug. 15, 2011, Monsegur pleaded guilty to more than ten charges relating to his hacking activity. In the following few weeks, he worked almost daily out of FBI offices, helping the feds identify and ultimately take down the other high-level members of LulzSec and Anonymous, sources said. In time, his handlers allowed him to work from the home from which he previously wrought destruction, using a PC laptop provided by the FBI.

According to the same Fox report, Monsegur helped the FBI in a variety of ways -- tweeting misinformation as instructed by handlers, verifying the truth of various threats, and even interceding in operations launched by LulzSec or Anonymous members against various targets. In fact, a lot of the report reads like a made-for-tv movie script:

When the CIA found itself under siege from LulzSec hackers, Sabu stepped in. With his underlings launching so-called DDoS attacks -- denial of service cyberattacks that basically flood a website with traffic to overwhelm it -- the CIA's public website was threatened.

"We told Sabu to tell them to stop," an official said. "‘It's embarrassing for the CIA,' we told Sabu, ‘Make them stop, now.'"

Sabu sent out the order: "You're knocking over a bee's nest," he warned his associates. "Stop."

They did.

If you'd like to read the case against Monsegur, here is the U.S. v. Hector Xavier Monsegur document.

Others arrested are:

  • Ryan Ackroyd, also known as lolspoon or lol
  • Jake Davis, or topiary
  • Darren Martyn, or pwnsauce
  • Donncha O'Cearrbhail, or palladium.
  • Jeremy Hammond, or Anarchaos (AntiSec)

Hammond, by the way, is charged with hacking into Strategic Forecasting, the exploit that Patrick Lambert covered in his article on Monday, "WikiLeaks publishes millions of Stratfor emails accessed by Anonymous."

What do you think will happen next? Will Anonymous or its splinter groups launch further retaliatory attacks in response to the arrests or is this operation likely to put a chill on the "hacktivist" community?

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Selena has been at TechRepublic since 2002. She is currently a Senior Editor with a background in technical writing, editing, and research. She edits Data Center, Linux and Open Source, Apple in the Enterprise, The Enterprise Cloud, Web Designer, and...

11 comments
wuboyblue
wuboyblue

Well, you've published his name, the court documents, now all you need to do is give the guy's address. Sure he is a rat, a snitch, but the idea of publishing so much information about him tells the average tv watcher (like me) that he is sleeping under the blanket of the U.S. Marshalls. I really didn't think there was some omert?? between those involved in a conspiracy to hack, but really. I understand the reason for protecting this now outed asset, why I don't understand is why he was outed at all.

virtualburn
virtualburn

.. you gotta love 'em. If it took the FBI this long to pin down a bunch of noobs riding the hype, let's see what happens when the big guns step into the fray. The more information is repressed and Governments in the pockets of Corporations think they can restrict the free web, the less control they will have on what actually happens.

HAL 9000
HAL 9000

Has already been hit and breached. If that's true as they where involved in the Investigation it's only a matter of time till the FBI gets hit quite hard and losses a lot of Data and credibility. Col

jkameleon
jkameleon

But exactly how, and why... who knows, and who cares. Once the regime is rotten enough, once enough people work for a change, all this snitching, data gathering, provocateuring, and conspiring becomes meaningless. The only thing it does are blowbacks.

AnsuGisalas
AnsuGisalas

Whoever took on Lockheed Martin? Whoever they were, odds are they work for profit, not principle.

jkameleon
jkameleon

FBI has no credible data hacktivists could possibly use, and after the "Fast and Furious" scandal, there is no more credibility FBI could possibly lose.

AnsuGisalas
AnsuGisalas

Information warfare is older than Information Technology, so, thanks for posting! :D