Attacks/Breaches
11/27/2012
10:59 AM
Connect Directly
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Accused LulzSec Hacker Could Face Life Imprisonment

Judge calls alleged Stratfor data breach mastermind 'flight risk,' denies bail; defense attorney suggests FBI entrapment.

Accused LulzSec participant Jeremy Hammond faces a potential prison sentence of more than 30 years if found guilty of all charges filed against him.

That warning was made last week by U.S. District Court chief judge Loretta Preska, who presided over a bail hearing for Hammond.

In early May 2012, a federal grand jury handed down a superseding indictment in the case against alleged LulzSec and Anonymous leaders, accusing Hammond of masterminding the LulzSec and Anonymous attacks against the website of Stratfor (a.k.a. Strategic Forecasting), beginning in December 2011. Hammond (a.k.a. Anarchaos, burn, POW, ghost, and anarchaker) was also charged with using some of the stolen credit card data to help make $700,000 in unauthorized charges, and accused of participating in a hack of the Arizona Department of Public Safety website.

In May 2012, Hammond entered a not guilty plea to all of the charges filed against him.

[ In the heat of the crisis in Gaza, Anonymous launches DDoS attacks against Israeli websites. See Anonymous Steps Into Gaza Crisis. ]

The Stratfor breach led to the disclosure of information on 860,000 of the company's clients, including the release of 5 million emails by WikiLeaks, as part of its Global Intelligence Files project. Stratfor ultimately offered about $1.75 million -- in the form of free subscriptions and e-books -- to settle several consolidated class action lawsuits filed in the wake of the breach.

At last week's hearing in a Southern District of New York federal courtroom, Hammond's defense attorney, Elizabeth Fink, suggested that the FBI may have used entrapment to catch her client, reported Courthouse News Service. That led Judge Preska to tell Fink that she should "feel free" to use entrapment as a defense, but that it had no bearing on Hammond's bail hearing. She ruled that with Hammond exhibiting a "lack of regard for legal authority" and facing a prison sentence of between 30 years and life imprisonment, the alleged hacktivist would be a flight risk. Accordingly, Preska denied Hammond's request for bail.

Shortly thereafter, a Pastebin post attributed to Anonymous has argued that Judge Preska should recuse herself from the case, on the grounds that her spouse, attorney Thomas J. Kavaler, was himself affected by the Stratfor data breach. According to information released in the Stratfor breach, Kavaler may have been a Stratfor customer.

How might an entrapment defense for Hammond proceed? At the time that Hammond allegedly hacked into Stratfor and sent the data to LulzSec leader Sabu -- whose real name is Hector Xavier Monsegur -- Sabu was already an FBI informant, and his activities were reportedly being monitored by agents around the clock. Interestingly, Sabu turned FBI informant after his arrest on June 7, 2011, but then launched the group known as AntiSec, before announcing that LulzSec was retiring. In other words, the bureau appeared to keep Sabu's hacktivist campaigns running, to see who else they could catch.

This isn't the only U.S. case being made against alleged LulzSec members, apparently with the help of Sabu. Cody Kretsinger (aka Recursion) was arrested in September 2011 on charges of participating in a SQL injection attack against the Sony Pictures Entertainment website, then posting 150,000 stolen usernames and passwords to the LulzSec website and Twitter channels. After initially entering a not guilty plea, Kretsinger pled guilty to the charges, and was originally due to be sentenced last month, but that sentencing hearing has been postponed to March 7, 2013.

Meanwhile, LulzSec hacker Raynaldo Rivera pled guilty last month to one of two charges against him, both of which related to an attack against the website of Sony Pictures Entertainment. As part of a plea agreement, prosecutors agreed to drop the other charge against Rivera and to reduce the maximum jail time he faces to five years. Rivera has also agreed to pay restitution to Sony.

Benchmarking normal activity and then monitoring for users who stray from that norm is an essential strategy for getting ahead of potential data and system breaches. But choosing the right tools is only part of the effort. Without sufficient training, efficient deployment and a good response plan, attackers could gain the upper hand. Download our Fundamentals Of User Activity Monitoring report. (Free registration required.)

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
PJS880
50%
50%
PJS880,
User Rank: Ninja
12/11/2012 | 2:32:19 AM
re: Accused LulzSec Hacker Could Face Life Imprisonment
I do think that if you break the law you should face the consequences of your actions. That being said I think that the punishment should fit the crime. I love how these judges throw life sentences and 30 years around like it is nothing! Are you kidding me? Don't get me wrong I do not agree with what he has done. The guy made a very poor choice, but spending the rest of his life in prison does not make sense! Does the legal system think that the punishment fits the crime or are they trying to make an example out of him as to prevent further hacks? Either way it does sound like the lawyer could make a case of entrapment.

Paul Sprague
InformationWeek Contributor
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
Partner Perspectives
What's This?
In a digital world inundated with advanced security threats, Intel Security seeks to transform how we live and work to keep our information secure. Through hardware and software development, Intel Security delivers robust solutions that integrate security into every layer of every digital device. In combining the security expertise of McAfee with the innovation, performance, and trust of Intel, this vision becomes a reality.

As we rely on technology to enhance our everyday and business life, we must too consider the security of the intellectual property and confidential data that is housed on these devices. As we increase the number of devices we use, we increase the number of gateways and opportunity for security threats. Intel Security takes the “security connected” approach to ensure that every device is secure, and that all security solutions are seamlessly integrated.
Featured Writers
White Papers
Cartoon
Current Issue
Dark Reading's October Tech Digest
Fast data analysis can stymie attacks and strengthen enterprise security. Does your team have the data smarts?
Flash Poll
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2013-7407
Published: 2014-10-22
Cross-site request forgery (CSRF) vulnerability in the MRBS module for Drupal allows remote attackers to hijack the authentication of unspecified victims via unknown vectors.

CVE-2014-3675
Published: 2014-10-22
Shim allows remote attackers to cause a denial of service (out-of-bounds read) via a crafted DHCPv6 packet.

CVE-2014-3676
Published: 2014-10-22
Heap-based buffer overflow in Shim allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary code via a crafted IPv6 address, related to the "tftp:// DHCPv6 boot option."

CVE-2014-3677
Published: 2014-10-22
Unspecified vulnerability in Shim might allow attackers to execute arbitrary code via a crafted MOK list, which triggers memory corruption.

CVE-2014-4448
Published: 2014-10-22
House Arrest in Apple iOS before 8.1 relies on the hardware UID for its encryption key, which makes it easier for physically proximate attackers to obtain sensitive information from a Documents directory by obtaining this UID.

Best of the Web
Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
Follow Dark Reading editors into the field as they talk with noted experts from the security world.