FBI gets hacker's help to prevent thousands of cyber-attacks
For the first time during the whole process prosecutors in New York have revealed the amount of help and cooperation that Hector Xavier Monsegur has provided. Due to that, the judge has asked for leniency.
Hector Xavier Monsegur was arrested three years ago and until now remained in prison. Now with his help and cooperation his sentence might be up to two years or maybe even less.
According to the FBI, with the help of Monsegur the agency prevented more than 300 separate attacks and thus saved millions of dollars in losses.
He has also provided information about the so-called Anonymous hacktivist group that was known for conducting cyber-attacks on government agencies.
The prosecutors claim, that Monsegur "provided, in real time, information about then-ongoing computer hacks and vulnerabilities in significant computer systems." Initially at the beginning of 2000, Monsegur was earning money by stealing card information and selling it to third parties. However, in 10 years, in 2011 in his interview he claimed that he decided to join the Anonymous hacktivists group because of the arrest of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.
Being a member of the group, Monsegur hacked the computer systems of Fox, Nintendo, PayPal and others.
Prosecutors even stated that this group is somehow linked with one of the FBI's most wanted cybercriminal, Jeremy Hammond.
After his arrest, Monsegur immediately agreed to cooperate with government officials.
Monsegur "convinced LulzSec members to provide him digital evidence of the hacking activities" and "asked seemingly innocuous questions that ... could be used to pinpoint their exact locations and identities."
According to the court papers, he talked online with Hammond who was in Chicago and as a result, "physical surveillance teams deployed in Chicago, and an electronic surveillance unit in Washington."
In 2013 Hammond was sentenced to 10 years in prison.
Monsegur became a number one enemy for the group Anonymous; hackers posted his personal information and threatened him and his family. As a result of that, the FBI had to relocate Monsegur and his family for safety reasons.