Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Attacks/Breaches

LulzSec Leader Sabu Unmasked, Aids FBI Hacker Sweep

Feds arrest alleged members of LulzSec, Anonymous, and AntiSec, charge them with attacks on Sony, PBS, Stratfor, and other sites.

Anonymous: 10 Facts About The Hacktivist Group
Anonymous: 10 Facts About The Hacktivist Group
(click image for larger view and for slideshow)
The FBI and U.S. Attorney's Office Tuesday announced that five principal members of the hacktivist groups Anonymous and its offshoot, LulzSec, have been arrested and charged. The men were located both in the United States and abroad.

According to the indictment, unsealed Tuesday in federal court in Manhattan, the charged men include Ryan Ackroyd (aka kayla, lol, lolspoon), Jake Davis (aka topiary, atopiary), Darren Martyn (aka pwnsauce, raepsauce, networkkitten), and Donncha O'Cearrbhail (aka Palladium). The men have been charged with hacking Fox Broadcasting Company, Sony Pictures Entertainment, and the Public Broadcasting Service (aka PBS).

According to the indictment, O'Cearrbhail was responsible for surreptitiously recording a conference call between the FBI and Scotland Yard in January. Parts of the call, released in early February, suggested that further arrests or charges were set to be made or announced within weeks, although some related details--such as suspects' names--were bleeped out of the recording.

[ Even hackers fall victim to malware. Read Anonymous Allies Hit With Zeus Malware. ]

According to the indictment, O'Cearrbhail was able to join the conference call after hacking into the personal email account for an officer in Ireland's national police service, known as the An Garda Siochana (or Garda), who had made a security mistake. "Because the Garda officer had forwarded work emails to a personal account, O'Cearrbhail learned information about how to access a conference call that the Garda, the FBI, and other law enforcement agencies were planning to hold on January 17, 2012, regarding international investigations of Anonymous and other hacking groups," according to the indictment.

Meanwhile, authorities disclosed that Hector Xavier Monsegur, (aka Sabu, Xavier DeLeon, Leon) had been arrested last year, after which he agreed to work with the bureau as an informant. Furthermore, on August 15, 2011, according to the indictment, Monsegur pled guilty to a 12-count information charging him with computer hacking conspiracies, among other crimes. The charges related to hacks of HBGary and HBGary Federal, as well as Sony Pictures Entertainment and Fox Broadcasting. Authorities also charged him with hacking the Atlanta chapter of InfraGard, a private, non-profit group that exists to serve as a public/private partnership with the FBI.

A sixth man, Jeremy Hammond (aka Anarchaos, sup_g, burn, yohoho, POW, tylerknowsthis, crediblethreat), was arrested late Monday in Chicago and charged with hacking into the website global intelligence firm Strategic Forecasting, better known as Stratfor, in December 2011. Authorities said that Hammond had identified himself as a member of the LulzSec and Anonymous spin-off group AntiSec.

In the indictment, authorities sought to make clear connections between AntiSec and the other hacktivist groups. "In publicizing the Stratfor hack, members of AntiSec reaffirmed their connection to Anonymous and other related groups, including LulzSec. For example, AntiSec members published a document with links to the stolen Stratfor data entitled: 'Anonymous Lulzxmas rooting you proud' on a file sharing website," it read.

Law enforcement agencies had been steadily announcing the arrests of various LulzSec and Anonymous members. Notably, British police busted Jake Davis, an 18-year old living in the north of Scotland, and who authorities accused of being LulzSec's PR-savvy spokesman "Topiary," in July 2011. Meanwhile, at the beginning of September 2011, Scotland Yard arrested a man who they said was core LulzSec member Kayla, who was named in the indictment unsealed Tuesday as Ryan Ackroyd.

Sabu, however, appeared to remain at large, though he apparently granted an interview in October 2011, during which he disclosed that LulzSec and Anonymous still had a cache of hacked data from HSBC and Koch Brothers stored on a secret server in China.

But in fact, Sabu had been arrested before--and perhaps even helped authorities to positively identify--Ackroyd and Davis. According to Fox News, Monsegur (aka Sabu) was arrested by FBI agents in June 2011, after his identity was "doxed"--meaning he was named in an online post--earlier that month. The bureau accelerated its arrest plans, in case the identity disclosure spooked Monsegur into attempting to cover his tracks.

Authorities had put Monsegur under surveillance after he accidentally logged into a chat board without disguising his IP address. "He's extremely intelligent," a law enforcement official told Fox News. "Brilliant, but lazy."

The arrest revelation makes it clear why LulzSec called it quits in late June 2011, after a 50-day hacking spree: its anti-authority leader had been busted and turned informant.

Lazy or not, when it came to tripping up, the odds were apparently against the LulzSec crew. "When you're running this kind of operation for a long time, especially with not very concrete plans, you're bound to make mistakes," Tal Be'ery, lead Web researcher at Imperva, told USA Today last year.

"The mistakes LulzSec and Anonymous made during their hacking spree left an electronic trail with enough footprints to produce today's arrests," said Rob Rachwald, director of security strategy at Imperva, in a blog post.

The right forensic tools in the right hands are just a start. The new Digital Detectives issue of Dark Reading shows you how to better apply the lessons they teach. (Free registration required.)

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Mathew
50%
50%
Mathew,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/6/2012 | 8:34:52 PM
re: LulzSec Leader Sabu Unmasked, Aids FBI Hacker Sweep
Hi Garcol, thanks for your comment. Whatever your views on Murdoch, Fox News broke this story. Its story included commentary from law enforcement officials who apparently reached out to Fox News, with crucial information (don't you agree?).

Have to follow the story, as long as it passes the sniff test. Had the Wall Street Journal (another Murdoch organ) broken the news, we would have referenced them instead.
Garcol
50%
50%
Garcol,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/6/2012 | 8:12:51 PM
re: LulzSec Leader Sabu Unmasked, Aids FBI Hacker Sweep
Why is FOX news referenced as a source? FOX is owned by NewsCorp, the Murdoch paranoid propganda deployment center. Murdoch and many of his employees have been named as defendents in a series of illegal phone hackings. I don't think that gives FOX any credibility here.
COVID-19: Latest Security News & Commentary
Dark Reading Staff 9/25/2020
Hacking Yourself: Marie Moe and Pacemaker Security
Gary McGraw Ph.D., Co-founder Berryville Institute of Machine Learning,  9/21/2020
Startup Aims to Map and Track All the IT and Security Things
Kelly Jackson Higgins, Executive Editor at Dark Reading,  9/22/2020
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
Special Report: Computing's New Normal
This special report examines how IT security organizations have adapted to the "new normal" of computing and what the long-term effects will be. Read it and get a unique set of perspectives on issues ranging from new threats & vulnerabilities as a result of remote working to how enterprise security strategy will be affected long term.
Flash Poll
How IT Security Organizations are Attacking the Cybersecurity Problem
How IT Security Organizations are Attacking the Cybersecurity Problem
The COVID-19 pandemic turned the world -- and enterprise computing -- on end. Here's a look at how cybersecurity teams are retrenching their defense strategies, rebuilding their teams, and selecting new technologies to stop the oncoming rise of online attacks.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2020-15208
PUBLISHED: 2020-09-25
In tensorflow-lite before versions 1.15.4, 2.0.3, 2.1.2, 2.2.1 and 2.3.1, when determining the common dimension size of two tensors, TFLite uses a `DCHECK` which is no-op outside of debug compilation modes. Since the function always returns the dimension of the first tensor, malicious attackers can ...
CVE-2020-15209
PUBLISHED: 2020-09-25
In tensorflow-lite before versions 1.15.4, 2.0.3, 2.1.2, 2.2.1 and 2.3.1, a crafted TFLite model can force a node to have as input a tensor backed by a `nullptr` buffer. This can be achieved by changing a buffer index in the flatbuffer serialization to convert a read-only tensor to a read-write one....
CVE-2020-15210
PUBLISHED: 2020-09-25
In tensorflow-lite before versions 1.15.4, 2.0.3, 2.1.2, 2.2.1 and 2.3.1, if a TFLite saved model uses the same tensor as both input and output of an operator, then, depending on the operator, we can observe a segmentation fault or just memory corruption. We have patched the issue in d58c96946b and ...
CVE-2020-15211
PUBLISHED: 2020-09-25
In TensorFlow Lite before versions 1.15.4, 2.0.3, 2.1.2, 2.2.1 and 2.3.1, saved models in the flatbuffer format use a double indexing scheme: a model has a set of subgraphs, each subgraph has a set of operators and each operator has a set of input/output tensors. The flatbuffer format uses indices f...
CVE-2020-15212
PUBLISHED: 2020-09-25
In TensorFlow Lite before versions 2.2.1 and 2.3.1, models using segment sum can trigger writes outside of bounds of heap allocated buffers by inserting negative elements in the segment ids tensor. Users having access to `segment_ids_data` can alter `output_index` and then write to outside of `outpu...