LulzSec leader worked with the FBI for months, turns in fellow hackers

By on March 6, 2012, 11:24 AM

LulzSec, the hacking collective loosely associated with Anonymous, suffered a major blow today after law enforcement officials in the U.S. and U.K. arrested three of its members and charged another two with the help of none other than the group's former leader, Hector Xavier Monsegur, better known as "Sabu." Apparently, Monsegur had been secretly arrested months ago and turned into a cooperating witness by the FBI.

The 28-year-old unemployed computer programmer, welfare recipient and legal guardian of two young children allegedly acted as the leader of LulzSec from his apartment in a public housing project in New York. The group famously hacked the security firm HBGary last year before breaking off from Anonymous and going on a high-profile hacking spree targeting Sony, the CIA, the U.S. Senate, and FBI, among many others.


Hector Xavier Monsegur, aka Sabu, LulzSec leading hacker turned FBI informant

In March of 2011, a rival hacker group tired of "the mob's unpatriotic ways", handed law enforcement and a few media outlets a comprehensive list of names and handles associated with Anonymous and LulzSec. Three months later LulzSec announced that it was leaving the hacking world, just as suddenly as it arrived.

Knowing he'd been outed, law enforcement feared Sabu would begin destroying evidence of his hacking career and traces of those he'd worked with online. According to Fox News, they knocked on his door weeks later and after using the clichéd good cop/bad cop routine on him, threatening to take his kids away, Sabu finally gave in. On August 15 he pleaded guilty to a dozen hacking-related charges and agreed to cooperate with the FBI.

As members of LulzSec were arrested over the next months, many hackers had suspected that Sabu was working as a government informant. Indeed, he worked almost daily out of FBI offices, helping the feds identify high-level members of LulzSec and Anonymous. He vehemently denied the accusations, however, and continued to rally the movement on Twitter telling hackers to "Fight back. Stay strong."

Those arrested on Tuesday include Ryan Ackroyd (aka "Kayla") and Jake Davis (aka "Topiary") from London, Darren Martyn (aka "pwnsauce") and Donncha O’Cearrbhail (aka "palladium") from Ireland, and Jeremy Hammond (aka "Anarchaos") from Chicago.

"This is devastating to the organization," said an FBI official involved with the investigation. "We're chopping off the head of LulzSec."




User Comments: 40

Got something to say? Post a comment
p51d007 said:

28 years old, father of TWO, has a bunch of expensive Apple gear,

UNEMPLOYED and on welfare. I say kick his bum a** out into the street

tell him to get a d*mn job and cut him off welfare.

Guest said:

This guy needs to be found murdered and raped how dare you!.... beginning this hacking spree and yet you come out and do this to your team either go big or don't do it at all ..... you should of taken precautions don't hack from your own home wth was he thinking ..........

TomSEA TomSEA, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

"...The 28-year-old unemployed computer programmer, welfare recipient..." I'm pretty sure this is pretty much a standard description for all the Anonymous and LulzSec clowns. Buncha losers who can't find anything else to do with their time other than act as judge, jury and executioner on the internet.

Tygerstrike said:

As predicted....Someone got caught, someone squealed!! It was expected. Now ANON has to look two or three times at their own ppl and check them. Nothing worse when your running a illegal hacking group then not being able to trust your fellow hackers lol.

The first ppl caught though have it the worst. They are the ones that get the harshest prison times because of all the aggrivation the in general hacking community has caused. Those old judges wouldnt have any idea who did what without a road map, so they will just throw them all in some prison somewhere. That is unless they want to escape jailtime and maybe work for the beast they have been fighting....Maybe give those chinese hackers a run for their cyber dollar.

Ranger12 Ranger12 said:

I agree with Tom. Also I'd like to point out theyre not unemployed because they can't find a job. They're obviously very talented and no doubt companies would like to have that talent working for them. But why work if the government will send you a check every month? The government was enabling this guy from the beginning.

@Guest Your comment, in my opinion, is inappropriate.

Benny26 Benny26, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Looks like he'll be swapping LulzSec for WitSec...

treetops treetops said:

meh i never liked lulsec, but i did cheer when anonymous shutdown the Egyptian government during the rebellion

PC nerd PC nerd said:

Traitorous piece of scum.

dms96960 said:

He is such a handsome guy -- I am surprised that he could not find work in Hollywood.

Guest said:

A now well known and possibly even famous hacker unemployed? Not for long. He has the potential to make more money than anyone here. With that kind of skill, any company would be eager to pick him up and use him to find vulnerabilities in their infrastructure. This is a case where it is good to be bad (after prison time of course). This has happened before where even the government would employ a highly skilled criminal to work for them. Does the movie "catch me if you can" ring a bell?

Prosercunus said:

Just because that has happened doesn't mean it will happen. Catch me if you can was fraud cases in a totally different age (60's and 70's if I remember the movie right).

Pretty sure they won't hire a felon under any circumstances nowadays, at least not on the federal or law enforcement level.

TomSEA TomSEA, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Actually Prosercunus, I think it will in this case. He's been working hand-in-hand with the FBI for months on this and was considered a superstar in the hacking field. I wouldn't be surprised in the slightest if the FBI or CIA hire him on full-time. Here's an interesting article about him and his FBI handlers:

[link]

Guest said:

@ PC nerd

In a way he was a traitor but the problem was that he had kids. If he did not, it might have turned out different for all we know.

""He didn't go easy," a law enforcement official involved in flipping Sabu told FoxNews.com. "It was because of his kids. He didn't want to go away to prison and leave them. That's how we got him.""

http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2012/03/06/exclusive-inside-l
lzsec-mastermind-turns-on-his-minions/

Adhmuz Adhmuz, TechSpot Paladin, said:

It was only a matter of time before someone got caught and gave up the identities of the rest of the group. Glad it finally happened, as far as I'm concerned it wasn't soon enough. People who think they are above the law or have the right to police the internet don't impress me, rules are there for a reason and so are laws. Its incredibly childish to think otherwise, now they get to spend a good portion of their lives in prison and even when release will have limited access to computers, hopefully making them think twice before taking on the world for their own gains.

Lurker101 said:

p51d007 said:

28 years old, father of TWO, has a bunch of expensive Apple gear,

UNEMPLOYED and on welfare. I say kick his bum a** out into the street

tell him to get a d*mn job and cut him off welfare.

Just because someone is unemployed, that doesn't mean they were always unemployed.

wcbert said:

"It was because of his kids. He didn?t want to go away to prison and leave them. That?s how we got him.?

This guy is dumb and not smart at all by my logic, because he did not know that his hacking activities could get him in trouble with the law and eventually he would lose custody of his kids.

Maybe smart is not the right word, maybe he lack the "common sense" to know what he was doing could lose his kids and his kids would lose their father.

He put his hacking activities before his kids!

Tygerstrike said:

I really feel for his kids though. And to be fair he was being loyal. Greatest loyalty he could muster. His loyalty to his family. All other considerations and charges aside. Atleast he showed enough character to FINALLY think about his kids. I wouldnt be surprised if they eventually tried to take his kids away from him.

lipe123 said:

You can't trust a bunch of entitled elitist anonymous power tripping jobless people on the net?!

WHAT has the world come to?

(also he was using mac's?! totally deserve to get caught)

Guest said:

@lipe123: Yes.

H3llion H3llion, TechSpot Paladin, said:

TomSEA said:

"...The 28-year-old unemployed computer programmer, welfare recipient..." I'm pretty sure this is pretty much a standard description for all the Anonymous and LulzSec clowns. Buncha losers who can't find anything else to do with their time other than act as judge, jury and executioner on the internet.

I do agree with that, but maybe some are fairly young and will become very good programmers in future, who knows. Mr LulzSec Leader ... /palm

Guest said:

@tkeys356 you mean choose his hacker buds who he doesn't even know personally over his own kids?

Mindwraith said:

haha so now even the hackers are being policed by other hackers. this should make anon think twice about some of the stupid stuff they've been doing in the last few months.

Lionvibez said:

Just goes to show when doing illegal shit make sure there are no attachments.

Cause if caught they will use it against you.

Guest said:

i lol my *** off, these lulz losers are off to butt rape prison all because their leader was an epic loser. further proof that these "hackers" are nothing more then losers living off other people.

mrtraver said:

"We're chopping off the head of LulzSec."

This demonstrates that the FBI (or at least the official who said this) still has no clue how these groups operate. "Leadership" is distributed; the groups are headless. Even if you remove influential associates, there are always others to take their places. At most, this group will dissipate and many of the individuals will align themselves with other similar groups, or start new ones.

NTAPRO NTAPRO said:

What the **** LOL

Zeromus said:

I don't know, I think he did the right thing.

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Zeromus said:

I don't know, I think he did the right thing.

I think he didn't have a choice and made a decision that anyone would have made.

Guest said:

lolz whos this guy ? hes not the lulz head lol oh yeah misinformation keep it up !

Guest said:

snitches are bitches.....end of story

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

Oh gosh, from big shot "hactivist" to big time rat seems like such a baby step......

Ya know, those old Apple mice had only one big button. They kinda looked like a bar of soap. Maybe he can convince himself he's picking up a mouse in the prison shower.......

Guest said:

What goes around comes around. Thats how most people eventually get caught, by a nark.

Guest said:

Except he probably want end up in the clink at all... so perhaps keep your homo-erotic fantasies to yourselves?

He helped the FBI catch other anon/lulz members (no doubt some of the arrest over the last few months are connected...). It's no doubt part of his deal - that he will stay out of prison... that's if you can even believe any of this...

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

He helped the FBI catch other anon/lulz members (no doubt some of the arrest over the last few months are connected...). It's no doubt part of his deal - that he will stay out of prison... that's if you can even believe any of this...
You mean like maybe he was with the FBI cyber crimes unit when he joined lulzsec?

Guest said:

All I can say is... I hope this guy is good at avoiding... backdoor intusions :cue CSI Miami theme:

Guest said:

...like a sir!

gingerbill said:

so it turned out the internet tough guy wasnt so tough and squealed like a pig as soon as the cops knocked on his door , lol , no surprise there.

Guest said:

I can't believe how most of you comment on this guy and missing the point. "Criminal", "Traitor", "living on support" etc. You have a pretty large group of people who are definitly not stupid, most of them are well educated and yet they are willing to do risky things without any material benefit and just to cause some damage. Nobody is asking why they appear now? Why not 3,4 or 5 years earlier, all the techology was there then and even better security was much lower then. We just outcast them and mark them as terrorist, criminals, outcats. The correct parallel is the begining of 20th century and rise of communism. At first they were exactly like this and later much more extreme mostly as goverments didn't want to understand their revolt.

Guest said:

You mean like maybe he was with the FBI cyber crimes unit when he joined lulzsec?

Obviously not...

But it is quite obvious that he was caught and was offered a deal - "talk or go to jail". Well he obviously talked... why talk, why blow the whistle on the others after getting caught, if you're still going to go to jail anyway...?

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