One of the the leader of hacking collective Lulzsec, 28-year-old Hector "Sabu" Monsegur, has reportedly been working with the FBI, and has turned in many of his hacking friends to The Man. Lulzsec is known for having attacked the CIA,VISA, and having compromised the PlayStation Network. This seemingly brings the whole "PlayStation Notwork" hacking scandal to an end.
Reportedly, five members of Lulzsec have been arrested in New York, although the exact charges haven't been officially announced.
The story of Sabu's identification and arrest reads like hard-boiled crime fiction. The Feds, desperate to identify the people behind attacks on major financial institutions and gamer networks, kept a close eye on Sabu, but he reportedly always covered his tracks: Masking his IP address behind proxy servers. But apparently Sabu got lazy and logged into IRC once without creating a proxy; that was enough for 5-O to move in.
Armed with Sabu's real name and address, the Feds gathered evidence against him -- the stolen credit card numbers they found were enough to charge him with identity theft-- then, in June, they made their move and knocked on the door of an apartment in a housing project in New York.
Sabu answered, and at first told the FBI that he didn't even have a computer. The visible router and Ethernet cable made that lie obvious.
Next step: The old Good Cop - Bad Cop routine, which seems to have proven quite successful on Sabu. Not only are the police really good at interrogations, they had some serious leverage on Sabu. He has two kids, and seemingly would rather see them grow up then spend the next several decades in the clink.
Far from the mal-adjusted, pasty teenager hacker stereotype, Sabu is reportedly an anti-capitalist "hacktivist" type, and views breaking into computers as a political act. He is also a fan of street racing; reportedly, this is his street-racing YouTube channel.
Hactivisim or not, ultimately, the decision to flip on his associates came down to his family.
"It was because of his kids," an agent told Fox News. "He'd do anything for his kids. He didn't want to go away to prison and leave them. That's how we got him."
Sabu pleaded guilty to the charges against him, but was released, and reportedly newly employed by the FBI. Sabu apparently spent the next several months essentially setting up leaders of hacker groups he was affiliated with, like Lulzsec and Anonymous, all the while posting things to twitter like:
"The federal government is run by a bunch of f*cking cowards. Don’t give in to these people. Fight back. Stay strong."
“You think arresting my people will stop our idea? Our love and solidarity will not cease but will be empowered. We are stronger than the gov,
In September, when Sabu was reportedly helping the FBI, he spoke to a Gawker reporter, and did a very impressive job of seeming like an anarchist-hacker type, going off on anti-FBI tirades, but it was seemingly all a front while he worked to gather evidence against his comrades in the hacker community.
Four men in Britain and Ireland were charged Tuesday with computer crimes; a fifth man was arrested Monday in Chicago. Also charged in Federal District Court for the Southern District of New York were Darren Martyn, 25, whose nicknames included Pwnsauce, and Donncha O’Cearrbhail, 19, who was known as Palladium.
The moral of the story, in my opinion: Don't think you're going to hack Visa, Sony and governmental websites and get away with it. The "establishment" has some pretty powerful weapons in their gun-rack, and you don't want them pointed at you.
It will be interesting to see how the "hacking community" reacts to the news that one of their own was a apparently a fink, though.