25 April 2014, 10:37

Anonymous hacker turned FBI informant, helped with cyber attacks on foreign websites - reports

Anonymous hacker turned FBI informant, helped with cyber attacks on foreign websites - reports

According to the new documents, an informant working for the FBI coordinated hundreds of cyber attacks overseas during a 2012 campaign, the New York Times reports. It remains unclear whether the FBI directly ordered the attacks. 

However, the documents suggest that the US government may have used hackers to gather intelligence overseas.

The mastermind behind the attacks against the websites some of which are operated by the foreign governments, including Iran, Pakistan, Syria, Brazil and Turkey, was Hector Xavier Monsegur, known as Sabu. He became a prominent hacker within Anonymous for a string of attacks on high-profile targets, including PayPal and MasterCard.

According to the recent report in the New York Times, "the informant directed at least one hacker to extract vast amounts of data, from bank records to login information, from the government servers of a number of countries and upload it to a server monitored by the FBI."

Sabu wasn't not carrying out any of the attacks. Instead, fellow hackers were providing him with the data not knowing that they were aiding the FBI. One of those involved was Jeremy Hammond, who was convicted and sentenced in November 2013 to 10 years in prison for hacking the private intelligence firm Stratfor. According to Mr. Hammong, Sabu gave him a list of approximately 2,000 internet domains to attack.

In the previously unpublished statement attributed to Hammond that surfaced this week, he wrote that, "Manipulating hackers to break into international websites to steal emails and databases is a previously undisclosed aspect" of the surveillance campaign carried out by the NSA and other US agencies.

It is believed that Mr. Monsegur, who had been arrested in 2011, has been cooperating with the FBI ever since helping the bureau identify other members of Anonymous.

In a closed hearing in August 2011, a federal prosecutor told a judge that Mr. Monsegur had been "cooperating with the government proactively" and had "literally worked around the clock with federal agents" to provide information about other hackers, whom he described as "targets of national and international interests," the New York Times reports.

Sabu has still not been sentenced for the crimes associated with the 50 Days of Lulz campaign he carried out against CIA, Sony, EA, etc. He has already pleaded guilty to 12 criminal charges, including multiple counts of conspiracy to engage in computer hacking, computer hacking in furtherance of fraud, conspiracy to commit access device fraud, conspiracy to commit bank fraud and aggravated identity theft.

Monsegur was due in court this week to be sentenced, but just like the five previous court dates, the sentencing was adjourned at the request of the prosecution.

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