Hacker Genius Turned FBI Informant

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Image possibly created by “Anonymous” hacker group. Author: “Aleichem”

Today, Hector Xavier Monsegur’s hacker-informant double life was revealed. Known as “Sabu” in the virtual world, Monsegur was allegedly the leader of a group of super hackers that fell under the names of “Anonymous”, “LulzSec” and “AntiSec”. But last June, the normally cautious Monsegur slipped up by logging into a chat room without masking his IP address. The FBI had been trying to track down the masterminds behind LulzSec for some time and when on June 7th, 2011, Monsegur’s identity became revealed, the feds moved quickly. They showed up to his New York apartment surprised to find a 28-year old man living on public assistance with two children in custody.

Monsegur was charged with 12 counts related to computer hacking, identity theft, bank fraud and conspiracy that could have potentially landed him over 124 years in prison. He had a choice: go to prison and be away from his kids for possibly the rest of his life or turn on his virtual allies and become an informant for the FBI. He chose the latter.

His federal cooperation has led to the arrest of five of his hacking colleagues, or as they call themselves, “hacktivists”. In Chicago yesterday, Jeremy Hammond aka “Anarchaos” was arrested and charged for allegedly hacking the global intelligence firm Stratfor based in Austin, Texas. Today, Ryan Ackroyd and Jake Davis from Britain and Darren Martyn and Donncha O’Cearrbhail from Ireland were charged.

All five suspects plus Monsegur are believed to have been members of LulzSec. The group is allegedly responsible for affecting almost one million people through their online activities, according to the Associated Press. Their suspected targets include the CIA, Fox Broadcasting, Sony Pictures, Bethesda Softworks and the Irish political party, Fine Gael. Their purported crimes suggest an allegiance with WikiLeaks. They allegedly hacked the Public Broadcasting Service’s (PBS) website, planting a false story about Tupac Shakur being alive, since they felt PBS misrepresented Julian Assange’s organization on its show Frontline. LulzSec supposedly infiltrated Visa, MasterCard and PayPal’s websites for not agreeing to process donations for WikiLeaks.

“Sabu could be making millions of bucks heading the IT security department of a major company. But look at him, he’s impoverished, living off public assistance and was forced between turning on his friends and spending a lifetime in jail,” commented a law enforcement officer to Fox News.

How would you like to use your own technical prowess? Top law enforcement agencies, such as the FBI, the CIA and the Secret Service, as well as private and public firms value the skill, experience, intelligence and education of cyber security experts. If you would like to enter this prized field, look into taking a computer forensics degree or a cyber security degree.