LulzSec mastermind arrested, but security experts warn this is no time to let down your guard for this type of threat.
Remember back last summer when LulzSec leader "Sabu" suddenly dropped off the grid after the arrest of several members of the Anonymous splinter group? Speculation at the time centered around whether he, too, had been swept up in the arrests. Turns out he indeed was nabbed by the feds, ultimately pleading guilty to hacking charges in August 2011 and serving as an informant on his fellow LulzSec members, according to information released Tuesday by the FBI.
Sabu, 28, who was identified by the FBI as Hector Xavier Monsegur, a.k.a. Sabu, Xavier DeLeon, and Leon, pled guilty to 12 counts of computing hacking conspiracies and other crimes, including the infamous hacks of HBGary Federal, HBGary, Sony, Fox, and PBS. An indictment filed with the Southern District of New York and released Tuesday identifies Monsegur as a so-called "rooter," or hacker, who finds vulnerabilities in victims' systems in order to hack them. The indictment said that from around December 2010 until June 7, 2011, he both exploited them himself or passed them to others to do the same. In addition, he provided "infrastructure" to other hackers for launching attacks on victim networks--and also allegedly performed financial fraud.
The other members of the loosely affiliated hacking group named in the FBI charges were Ryan Ackroyd, aka Kayla, lool, and lolspoon; Jake Davis, aka Topiary and Atopiary; Darren Martyn, aka pwnsauce, raepsauce, and networkkitten; and Donncha O'Cearrbhail, aka Palladium. Palladium appears to allegedly have been behind the leaked law enforcement conference call earlier this year that was intercepted by Anonymous, and was also charged in a separate complaint with "intentionally disclosing an unlawfully intercepted wire communication," according to the FBI. Ackroyd and Davis were arrested last year.
Kroyd/Kayla, Davis/Topiary, Martyn/Pwnsauce, and O'Cearrbhail were all charged with hacking conspiracy in the Fox, Sony, and PBS breaches. Hammond/Anarchaos was charged with hacking crimes related to the Stratfor breach.
According to one source with information on the FBI investigation, Sabu is just one informant the FBI has secured inside the LulzSec/Anonymous collective. There will be more arrests as a result of members flipping on the group, the source said.
Perhaps most intriguing and significant about Tuesday's developments is that it took LulzSec's leader turning into an FBI informant to do the most significant damage to the hacking confab yet. While the arrests won't end Anonymous or the type of hacking LulzSec perpetrated--some experts are anticipating retaliatory hacks soon--it did make the first real dent on the group responsible for "doxing" and encouraging the distributed denial-of-service attacks against some major corporations and federal agencies, including law enforcement and the CIA.
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