News, Anonymous, Article, Charles Arthur, Dan Sabbagh, FBI, Hacking, Internet, LulzSec, News, Sandra Laville, Technology, UK news, United States, World news — March 6, 2012 18:29 — 1 Comment
LulzSec leader Sabu was working for us, says FBI
Hacking group leader, identified as Hector Xavier Monsegur, revealed as FBI mole as five other alleged LulzSec members arrested
The FBI claims to have struck a major blow against internet hacking after arresting or charging five key members of the LulzSec hacking group and revealing that the head of the group, who went by the nickname “Sabu”, has been working for it since the middle of 2011.
Hector Xavier Monsegur, known as Sabu, was charged with 12 criminal counts of conspiracy to engage in computer hacking and other crimes in court papers in Manhattan federal court, after secretly pleading guilty on August 15 to 12 counts of computer hacking conspiracies.
Monsegur, an unemployed 28-year-old Puerto Rican living in New York, pleaded guilty to carrying out online attacks against PayPal and Mastercard, documents unsealed in a Manhattan court on Tuesday shows. The charges were filed via a ”criminal information” form, which means the suspect has been cooperating with the government.
Five other people – two in the UK, two in Ireland and one in Chicago – were either arrested or charged by the FBI on Tuesday, details of which were set out in an indictment brought by the US Attorney General’s office in New York.
One of the people named in the indictment, Jake Davis, already faces a number of charges in the UK relating to alleged hacking by LulzSec. Also known by his hacker name of ”Topiary”, Davis, 19, of Lerwick, Shetland, was on Tuesday charged in the US with two counts of computer hacking conspiracy.
Ryan Ackroyd – a 23-year-old from Doncaster who is said to have used the names “kayla”, “lol” and ”lolspoon” – was also charged on two counts of computer hacking conspiracy.
A statement from the US Attorney’s office in New York said that Ackroyd was being interviewed on Tuesday by the Met police. Each count of computer hacking conspiracy carries a sentence of up to 10 years in jail.
The two Irish individuals charged are Darren Martyn, 25, of Galway, Ireland, on two charges of computer hacking conspiracy, Donncha O’Cearrbhail, 19, of Birr, Ireland, one one charge of computer hacking conspiracy and one charge of unlawfully intercepted wire communication, which carries a sentence of up to five years. O’Cearrbhail was arrested by the Irish police, the Garda, on Tuesday.
The fifth person charged is Jeremy Hammond, 27, of Chicago, US, who was arrested and charged on Monday in a criminal complaint with crimes relating to the December 2011 “Stratfor” hacking of global intelligence firm Strategic Forecasting.
He is charged with one count of computer hacking conspiracy, one count of computer hacking, and one count of conspiracy to commit access device fraud. Each count carries a maximum of 10 years.
LulzSec, a hacking crew of up to 10 people, and the hacking collective Anonymous have taken credit for carrying out a number of high-profile hacking actions against companies and institutions including the CIA, Britain’s Serious Organized Crime Agency, Japan’s Sony Corp and Mexican government websites.
But the explosive revelation that LulzSec’s leader was cooperating with the FBI, even while he was claiming to hate the government, could lead to the arrest of other hackers within the broader Anonymous group. It will also heighten distrust among the more powerful members of the collective – where paranoia about security always runs high anyway.
An FBI official was quoted by Fox News, which broke the story, as saying: “This is devastating to the organisation … we’re chopping off the head of LulzSec.”
LulzSec span out of Anonymous, the loose hacking collective, around the beginning of 2011, and engaged on a series of hacks into large and small organisations
But tensions within the group became evident from leaked chat logs published in June last year which showed Sabu, as the head of the group, struggling to maintain order as some members of the group worried that they had gone too far in attacking an FBI-affiliated site.
At that time, Sabu was still on the hackers’ side – but according to Fox News, the FBI tracked him down, possibly with the help of information gathered by rival hackers such as The Jester, thought to be an ex-US military member who took against LulzSec and its objectives early on. He was one of a number of hackers who connected Sabu with Monsegur last year.
A key clue that Sabu might have been captured came last summer, when his Twitter feed – usually active almost around the clock – suddenly went quiet for roughly two months. Monsegur’s final tweet, as Sabu, quoted German revolution Rosa Luxembourg: “Die Revolution sagt ich bin, ich war, ich werde sein” – which translated means: “The revolution says I am, I was, I will be.”
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010