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Details Of FBI Surveillance In Lulzsec Takedown Emerge 278

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the just-because-you're-paranoid dept.
uigrad_2000 writes "Yesterday, we learned that one of the top members of LulzSec (Sabu) had been an FBI informant for almost 6 months, and that this confidant of the LulzSec leader 'anarchaos' had given the feds what they needed to take him down. More details have come out now, completing a picture of how the sting took place from start to finish. It turns out that even the server space given from Sabu to anarchaos storing the details of 30,000 credit cards (from the Stratfor hack) had been funded by the FBI."
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Details Of FBI Surveillance In Lulzsec Takedown Emerge

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  • Traitors (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Lordgenome (2582079) on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @02:09PM (#39276957)
    I don't condole the activities of LulzSec, but fuck snitches. As one said by the great Capt Jack Sparrow: "The deepest circle of hell is reserved for betrayers and mutineers." If there was a hell, this asshole belongs there.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Truth be known, he might not have been a snitch. The feds have a penchant for setting up stings and luring morons into committing crimes that they might otherwise never have thought of. This guy may have actually instigated the whole thing at FBI request.
      • Re:Traitors (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @02:15PM (#39277037)

        He was dox'd by members of his own group before the FBI even started keeping tabs on him. They ousted one of their own before the whole thing even really got rolling, the feds were just paying attention is all.

        • Re:Traitors (Score:5, Informative)

          by Oswald McWeany (2428506) on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @02:45PM (#39277387)

          According to another article at the bottom- he made a couple of mistakes- one- he once logged into a chat directly without anonymising his IP. Two- he registerd a domain using his real name- and quickly changed it after noticing what he had done.

          He was doxed by members of his own team- but looks like the FBI would have caught him anyway.

          • So a few episodes back of this show, weren't we saying that stuff wasn't adding up in the tone and the feds were False Flagging? "Informant" is a little different, but close - in that they're still going to try to point to these groups and go all "see, our kiddies aren't safe from these online terrorists!"

            And out came the usual "Tin Foil Hat" arguments in response.

            Except - it turned out true after all.

            So now where do we stand in the Meta-Eval here?

            • Re:FBI Sting (Score:4, Interesting)

              by rtb61 (674572) on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @07:38PM (#39281969) Homepage

              Speaking of kids, you would think the FBI would have some sympathy for his. They way they outed it all for maximum publicity with total disregard to the impact on his children. Kids are cruel and you can imagine the kind of attacks his kids will suffer as the children and such a publicly exposed betrayer.

              Also one has to wonder at how those victims of the FBI orchestrated attacks over many months must feel. If I was one of those victims I'd be lawyering up to sue the hell out of the FBI for the crimes they orchestrated, not only allowing them to occur but initiating them. Easy money to make because the FBI will be forced to settle rather than battle out their criminal actions in court and considering wilful damages and penalties as well as loss of reputation and long term harm settlements could readily blow out to the millions.

      • Re:Traitors (Score:5, Insightful)

        by g0bshiTe (596213) on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @03:57PM (#39278725)
        Luring morons into committing crimes is called entrapment.
    • Re:Traitors (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Crasoose (1621969) on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @02:13PM (#39277003)
      In the government we call them whistle blowers. Not exactly the same, but It's something to think about.
      • Re:Traitors (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anrego (830717) * on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @02:19PM (#39277085)

        I personally think there is a difference between being involved in an organization and:

        - seeing something you wern't expecting going in and disagree with to such a degree that you are compelled to reveal it (what I consider a whistle blower)
        - turning on your friends / colleagues not on ethical grounds, but to save your own ass

        The first one I consider a very gray area and really don't know how I feel about it. The second are definitely scum.

        • Re:Traitors (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @02:27PM (#39277191)

          The "friends / colleagues" weren't collecting food for orphans, they were stealing people's financial futures. Someone who's involved in such crimes was already scum before they turned in their co-criminals, turning snitch means they're still the same scum but scum that happened to turn out useful to society in general.

          • Re:Traitors (Score:5, Insightful)

            by gl4ss (559668) on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @02:45PM (#39277385) Homepage Journal

            The "friends / colleagues" weren't collecting food for orphans, they were stealing people's financial futures. Someone who's involved in such crimes was already scum before they turned in their co-criminals, turning snitch means they're still the same scum but scum that happened to turn out useful to society in general.

            I thought we were talking about lulzsec and not bankers and people bailing them out?

            now: who's financial future did lulzsec steal? yours? someone who's cc they had? WHO? someone who got fired because of them??

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by Chakra5 (1417951)

              It's not a zero sum game

              Bankers may earn contempt without making any behavior that attacks them golden.

            • Re:Traitors (Score:4, Informative)

              by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @04:49PM (#39279655)

              You do realize that the reason Lulzsec stole cc numbers was because the numbers let them use other people's credit instead of their own? What, did you think they were doing it because it was kewl and rebellious? I didn't realize that I had to spell it out for you that when you max out other people's credit cards it can damage their credit ratings in ways that take decades to fix, even if a bank or online retailer later admits to the breach that let the cc#'s out.

              Are you really defending Lulzsec here?

    • After all that's what he did. Worse still he had actually taken a formal and solemn oath (written and oral) not to reveal the secrets he did.

      • If Bradley Manning had revealed those secrets because someone had bribed him or for some other sort of personal gain, sure.

        Though, I do not apply the term 'traitor' to this Sabu fellow. The FBI can bring a lot of pressure to bear and were highly motivated to solve this case. I wouldn't be surprised if his children were obliquely threatened with some sort of negative consequence should he not cooperate. So, just like I would not apply the label 'traitor' to a soldier who cracked under torture, I will not call Sabu a traitor. I do not think highly of him, but a traitor he is not.

        • by buchner.johannes (1139593) on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @02:37PM (#39277301) Homepage Journal

          The FBI can bring a lot of pressure to bear and were highly motivated to solve this case. I wouldn't be surprised if his children were obliquely threatened with some sort of negative consequence should he not cooperate.

          That was indeed the case. The threat to his children was not seeing their father when in prison. That's why he agreed to cooperate. [src] [morgenpost.de]

          The lesson for us to learn --- never have kids.

          • by winterchapo (1787988) on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @02:51PM (#39277487)
            I freaking knew this forever alone life choice was gonna come in handy some day!
          • or don't care about anyone so they have no leverage over you!

            I'm not anti-social! Just careful!

          • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

            by nfras (313241)

            You're on Slashdot. I think a high proportion of the people on here will not have a remote chance of having children. But if any of the neckbeards on here want to justify their lack of children by saying they lived in fear of one day having kids used against them by the FBI, rather than the fact that no sane woman with most of her own teeth would sleep with them, then you have helped the less fortunate of the world and done your good deed for the day.

          • by xenobyte (446878)

            The FBI cannot prevent someone from having visitors in prison - it's just an empty threat used along with other lies and 'games' (good cop, bad cop for instance) to intimidate their suspects.

            The judge can and the prison can, given proper justification. Preventing children from visiting is even harder as they have a right to visit their father, a right that can only be removed if the father is convicted of something directly involving the children (violence, incest etc.).

            Can't believe that that people still

      • by squidflakes (905524) on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @04:01PM (#39278827) Homepage

        Manning took the same oath that everyone entering the military takes, to defend the Constitution of the United States.

        Part of every soldier's training states that if you see an officer or other members of your squad, platoon, battalion, or even Joe Random Officer committing crimes, treason, or acts unbecoming of an officer or enlisted man of the United States military, you are to take the appropriate action.

        I feel he took most of the appropriate action. He saw how the war in Afghanistan was being handled, and how civilian casualties and torture of prisoners was condoned by those all the way up the CoC. He also saw how our allies were smoking up before patrols and putting the lives of every single American soldier they were near at risk.

        Manning did the right thing. In hindsight, he probably shouldn't have turned the data dump over to someone like Asange, but he didn't seem aware of anything other than "Wikileaks is a safe place to get the word out and not have the data suppressed."

        The response from the military and the government has been absolutely deplorable.

        • by Agripa (139780)

          Manning took the same oath that everyone entering the military takes, to defend the Constitution of the United States.

          It is more of a guideline than a rule.

      • by Uberbah (647458) on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @06:34PM (#39281203)

        Worse still he had actually taken a formal and solemn oath (written and oral) not to reveal the secrets he did.

        Manning's oath was to protect the Constitution, not American Imperialism.

    • So what you're saying is you don't like when people blow the whistle on shit they know is illegal/wrong?
      • So what you're saying is you don't like when people blow the whistle on shit they know is illegal/wrong?

        You're not a whistle-blower if you are the head of a resistance movement (or whatever) and sell out - you are a traitor. Whistle-blowers are generally people working for organisations that are doing bad things and trying to cover it up who, on moral grounds, release the information for the public good. For example Vidkun Quisling [wikipedia.org] was certainly *not* a 'whistle-blower'!

        • He didn't sell out. His family was threatened.

          He made a mistake.
          • He didn't sell out. His family was threatened. He made a mistake.

            Out of interest, in what way were his family threatened? He sold out for a reduced jail sentence. Its still a betrayal, no matter what way you look at it, and whether you agree or not. I probably would have done the same thing.

            • Really? I wouldn't have done the same thing in his position -- but that's because I have a little something notably almost absent from the modern world: ethics.

              • Really? I wouldn't have done the same thing in his position -- but that's because I have a little something notably almost absent from the modern world: ethics.

                Who expects honour amongst thieves? Seriously though, I'm sure most people, when faced with the option of betraying some guys they had never met or else getting thrown in jail (worse, an American jail) for essentially eternity, would choose the former. These people aren't martyrs or zealots.

      • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

        by flyingsquid (813711)
        The other issue is that you're not a whistleblower unless the information you reveal actually provides evidence of wrongdoing. Leaking the pictures of prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib, for instance, is clearly whistleblowing and should be protected. But when Manning released gun camera footage of an Apache helicopter gunship slaughtering Iraqi reporters, is that whistleblowing? If you watch that movie the whole way through, it's clear that the reporters were embedded with insurgents (an RPG is clearly visible o
        • Re:Traitors (Score:4, Informative)

          by cavreader (1903280) on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @03:37PM (#39278299)

          After the people released the edited and highly produced "Collateral Murder" version of that particular incident they ruined their credibility as people just trying to get the "truth" out. Government spin is attacked and labeled as criminal but apparently it's OK if you are supporting your own biased viewpoint. Unfortunately people do get killed in wars and everything you mentioned was true. There were ground troops 3 blocks away engaged with armed militants at the time. The copter was doing forward reconnaissance in support of those ground troops. There was even audio of the helicopter pilots getting permission to fire from their commanders who were in turn being advised by JAG lawyers assigned to the group.

          • Re:Traitors (Score:4, Insightful)

            by radtea (464814) on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @06:01PM (#39280759)

            There were ground troops 3 blocks away engaged with armed militants at the time.

            Which justifies them opening fire on the good samaritans who stopped to aid their first victims how?

            The copter was doing forward reconnaissance in support of those ground troops.

            Which justifies them opening fire on the good samaritans who stopped to aid their first victims how?

            There was even audio of the helicopter pilots getting permission to fire from their commanders who were in turn being advised by JAG lawyers assigned to the group.

            Which justifies them opening fire on the good samaritans who stopped to aid their first victims how?

            The rules of war are very, very clear on this: civilians aiding the wounded are not to be fired upon.

            Note that I am not talking about the original attack. I am not talking about all the cases where the use of deadly force conformed to the rules of engagement the helicopter crew were operating under. If you reply to justify those attacks as if I was arguing about them it will just show you are an idiot.

            I am specifically and only asking about the illegal attack on the good samaritans who came to the aid of the victims of the previous, legal attack.

            How do you justify that attack on those good samaritans, who were taking their kids to their music lessons and happened upon dying people in the road?

          • by Uberbah (647458)

            Radtea shredded your jinjoistic apologism, but left this one out:

            After the people released the edited and highly produced "Collateral Murder"

            And released a full version of the video as well. Which does nothing to change the story. This isn't one of Brietbart's edit jobs.

            Why so dishonest, cavreader?

    • Re:Traitors (Score:5, Insightful)

      by registrations_suck (1075251) on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @02:18PM (#39277077)

      ...but fuck snitches....

      So, if a friend of mine murders your , robs your house, kills your dog, trashes your car, or other such things, and then tells me about it, I should just keep my mouth shut. Got it.

      • by zzsmirkzz (974536)

        So, if a friend of mine murders your , robs your house, kills your dog, trashes your car, or other such things, and then tells me about it, I should just keep my mouth shut. Got it.

        For all things except Murder and Treason - that is correct. For Murder and Treason, it is up to you who holds more of your allegiance, your country, or your friend/family/Siamese-twin.

    • I wouldn't call him a traitor. You don't know what kind of pressure the FBI put on him to turn after they caught him. While I do not have a lot of respect for people who crack under that sort of thing, neither do I bear them a lot of animosity. Nobody really knows what they will do in a situation like that until it happens to them.

    • From the many news articles [arstechnica.com] out there:

      While sympathetic to the fact that Sabu's children may have influenced his decision, he didn't understand how Sabu could have put his family at risk in the first place. "Why would you get involved with something like this if you had kids that relied on you?" he asked. "If I had kids I would get a 'responsible' job/hobby."

      It appears that his children and their future were used against him to coerce him into snitching on LulzSec.

      It appears that Sabu's children were an exploited liability. Would you risk your loved ones for your ideals? Or is your answer still simply and obviously "fuck snitches"?

      And since you're quoting imaginary Disney characters, I'll remind you <Scarface spoiler alert> of the scene in Scarface where they're going to blow up a car of a politician's family in order to stop legislation but at the last moment Scarface realizes there are children in the vehicle and instead shoots the bomber in the face? Yeah, Scarface is a traitor at that point but ... you know ... he's a conflicted man with an internal conflict between morals and money. Sabu could have very much so been in a similar position.

      Please note, this Sabu character appears to be an unsavory character with delusions of grandeur [guardian.co.uk] who maybe should have his children taken away from him anyway but ... well ... that doesn't mean the situation is completely black and white.

      • by Dhalka226 (559740)

        It appears that Sabu's children were an exploited liability. Would you risk your loved ones for your ideals? Or is your answer still simply and obviously "fuck snitches"?

        (Not the OP.)

        Thinking about your children and the impact that your actions have on them is awesome. I fully encourage it. It is, I think, part of the responsibility of parenthood: Your life is no longer just about you, and you need to be cognizant of that fact.

        But it's rather late at the government informant stage to throw down the "

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by DaveV1.0 (203135)

      I bet you would be singing a different tune if the police needed leads on the people who gang raped your mother, wife, and daughter.

    • Re:Traitors (Score:5, Insightful)

      by theshowmecanuck (703852) on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @02:42PM (#39277357) Journal
      Yeah heaven forbid someone turn in a murderer or meth dealer. They'd just be fucking snitches. [end_of_sarcasm] What if someone turned in their friend who just murdered your mother? Would you still be pissed off at that person for being a snitch? IMO that was a dumb statement you just made. Or what in your opinion does it mean to do the right thing? Not so cut and dried is it?... or if you think it is, you either lack perspective or very well may be a sociopath. There are whole neighbourhoods filled with crime and squalor because they think being a snitch if worse than the criminals they turn. Those neighbourhoods deserve the shit they live in. The whole concept that you are a horrible snitch for turning in a law breaker is absurd. And to paint everyone who does it with the same brush is worse. It does a disservice to those who whistle blow and other forms of fighting for just causes (and even then calling someone a snitch or a whistle blower is just the perspective one has on whose cause they believe is just).
      • by zzsmirkzz (974536)

        yeah heaven forbid someone turn in a murderer or meth dealer. They'd just be fucking snitches.

        Let's get one thing straight and that is the definition of a snitch which I believe to be very different than a tattle-tale. If you witness a stranger or acquaintance commit a crime and you report it, you are not a snitch, you are a responsible citizen.

        If you witness a friend, family-member, partner or anyone else who you've established a basis of trust with commit a crime* and you report it, you probably could be considered a snitch. The fact you may never have agreed to be involved in any illegal activit

    • Re:Traitors (Score:5, Insightful)

      by flyingsquid (813711) on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @02:45PM (#39277391)
      Sabu's real name is Hector Xavier Monsegur. He's an unemployed father caring for two children, so you can see the position the FBI had him in. Work with us and help us take down Lulzsec, and we'll make this easy. You'll get away with a minimum of jail time, you'll get to go back to your kids, and maybe we can help find you a job working on the other side in computer security. Fight us, and we can send you away for a long time, you'll lose custody of your kids, and then what happens to them? It's not clear where the mother is in all of this; she's described as his girlfriend but they weren't living together. At the risk of speculating, I'd say it raises some huge red flags when a mother either doesn't want her kids to live with her, or it's somehow better to have an unemployed hacker raise the kids. Maybe having the mother raise the kids instead of him wasn't an option, then.

      That was basically the situation they had him in. Betray your fellow hackers, or lose your kids. It's a cruel choice, but ultimately he's the one responsible for making the kids a pawn in this game. Nobody forced him to break the law in the first place. The FBI agents, on the other hand, have to enforce the law of the land. They don't have the option of saying, "yeah he broke the law and hacked some websites, but he's got kids so we'll let him off with a stern warning". Once they had evidence that he'd broken the law, they have to pursue a case even if the kids become casualties. Offering Monsegur this way out is just about the only act of mercy they are allowed. He made a poor choice as a parent when he chose to engage in illegal activities while acting as the caretaker for two children. That's not to say that he shouldn't have been an online activist, but he could have found a way to do so in a responsible fashion that didn't pose the risk of the kids losing their father.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Sounds to me like he is a useless piece of shit. Why didn't he get a job? Not only is he an idiot, he is living off other people's taxes. And about the rest of the "hackers", good riddance. I can't imagine how anybody would feel the least bit of sympathy towards these retards. What did they think was going to happen?

        --
        Marcan

      • by theNAM666 (179776)

        >They don't have the option of saying, "yeah he broke the law and hacked some websites,

        They don't? Sure they do. How long have you worked for the Department of Justice?

        Federal prosecutors have a great deal of leeway and discretion, and you're fucking kidding me if you think the DoJ idiots (who understand -20% of the technical issues) we're running full speed to score this touchdown, no questions asked about who they injured. Moral? Give the guy a break? You've GOT TO BE FUCKING KIDDING. Prosecut

    • Seeing as he had two kids and was already unemployed they probably had lots of leverage on him. "Want to see your kids grow up?"

  • by GameboyRMH (1153867) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [hmryobemag]> on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @02:11PM (#39276987) Journal

    Set out code-words you can use to indicate that you're under coercion.

    • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @02:21PM (#39277117)

      You have to remember the deals the police make are very much a "You help us and get results or all bets are off." So if you agree to turn CI and then tip all your mates off, well they are going to figure it out. Mysteriously everyone disappears after you talk to them and so on. Then you get no deal.

      Remember the reason people do this is to get a better deal for themselves. The prosecution says "We've got X evidence on you which can result in Y different charges giving you Z time in prison. However cooperate with us and we'll drop/reduce some charges and you'll spend less time in prison." It is a carrot and stick situation. They offer you a reduced (or sometimes even eliminated, but that's rare) sentence if you help them.

      The people who cooperate do so willingly. Some don't, they tell them to fuck off. That was a big thing with the original mob back in the day, the Omerta, the code of silence. When someone got caught they wouldn't say a thing, they'd take the fall. Made the organization hard to break up. However many others do. People are often self interested, and criminals often even more so. So they'll cooperate willingly to get themselves a better deal.

      • So if you agree to turn CI and then tip all your mates off, well they are going to figure it out. Mysteriously everyone disappears after you talk to them and so on. Then you get no deal.

        Well that's why you have to set out a protocol to go with it. If someone uses their coercion code word, the procedure is to stop talking about anything you don't want the cops to know about, and then at the next meeting everybody says there's a rumor that the cops are getting too close and they're breaking up the group. Then the remaining members form a new group with new pseudonyms.

        • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @03:02PM (#39277639)

          Particularly the FBI. They'd figure this out. The "convenient" breaking up of a group wouldn't fly.

          Also you have to keep in mind the mindset of a CI. So let's say you've been doing something highly illegal the FBI shows up at your place and arrests you. They take you away and sit you in an interview room. You ask for and get a lawyer. They then proceed to lay out the evidence they have against you and the crimes you are guilty of. You can see that their evidence is through, they've got you. You are looking at a LONG time in prison.

          Then they have a proposition. You turn states evidence, you work for them and help them bust the people you were working with and they'll reduce your sentence a LOT. You were looking at 60 years, now you are looking at 5 and could be out in 2. The charges are a lot less too, they'll reflect less poorly on you upon release. Your lawyer says "Do it, it is a good deal."

          What do you do? Remember getting the deal is predicated on you helping them completely and it getting results. You tip off your buddies and they scat and at best you get back to your original charges and at worst they can stick a new tampering charge on you.

          Think about this seriously, don't try and play Internet Toughguy and say "Of course I'd do it! Fuck da' police!" Would you really? Or would you act in your own interests?

          Also please remember that this guy was probably in complete shock. Like most of these haxs0r types I'm sure he thought he was invincible and untraceable. So all this crashing down on him scared the hell out of him. I'm sure he was extremely willing to cooperate.

          • by Chakra5 (1417951)

            Think about this seriously, don't try and play Internet Toughguy and say "Of course I'd do it! Fuck da' police!" Would you really? Or would you act in your own interests?

            Or more to the point, act in your children's best interest, which come to think of it is probably what you should have been acting in in the first place

          • by Znork (31774)

            A 'convenient' break up would be very suspicious. However, a known informant is a great asset to have; continue as usual and feed them disinformation. Trick them into unfounded raids, etc, which is probably exactly what they were worried about as they seemed to go quite far in verifying their target.

            Perhaps he got a very good deal, but if it's 5 years instead of 60 it won't really matter; I wouldn't bet on the length of the sentence being the biggest issue for someone as widely identified as a snitch as thi

          • The entire world is not as spineless as you would have us believe.

          • by zzsmirkzz (974536)

            Think about this seriously, don't try and play Internet Toughguy and say "Of course I'd do it! Fuck da' police!" Would you really? Or would you act in your own interests?

            I would of thought of it beforehand and decided before I got involved. "Don't do the crime if it is not worth the time" is the mantra. Once you have decided to do the crime, you should have already accepted doing the time and it should be easy to exercise your right to remain silent. The fact that no one seems to have any honor anymore is very depressing.

          • by Beerdood (1451859) on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @07:34PM (#39281925)

            "Think about this seriously, don't try and play Internet Toughguy and say "Of course I'd do it! Fuck da' police!" Would you really? Or would you act in your own interests?"

            This article made me think a little about the whole morality and justice aspect to the purpose of lulzsec / anon / any internet vigilante group. Are they truly doing this thinking they're the robin hood or batman - dispensing justice for others that can't find it themselves? Vigilantes of the internet? Or just troublemakers looking to stir up trouble, but doing this as a way to feel justified.

            If it's a crime that benefits yourself (i.e. gathering mob protection money, burglary, blackmail) like in the parent analogy - then I would think there's a higher chance the criminal would work with authorities to benefit himself with a reduced sentence. But what if you truly believe that what you're doing isn't a crime, or that you're truly doing something for the world? For example if you're a captain of a ship and work for greenpeace, and you basically harass fisherman & oil tankers during your daily routine (or something like that) - and you're arrested, interrogated and told you'll be given a reduced sentence if you rat your friends out - would you do it? I would think that this captain is less likely to rat out friends than a criminal, because he thinks he's making the world a better place

            So to me, it kind of questions the integrity of the members of these online "movements". Are they doing this because they truly believe they're making a difference in the world and dispensing justice? Or are these the type of people that just like watching shit go down - the kind that would be writing malicious viruses for no profit if these groups didn't exist? Obviously, the actions of one individual aren't representative of the whole movement - but it makes you wonder how much "good" he thought he was doing by running lulzsec if he was willing to compromise his own principles to save his ass.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Everyone should have code words like this. I have some and my family knows what they are. If I'm in Serious Trouble, I can drop one of the phrases into casual conversation and they'll know to get help.

      • by gottabeme (590848)

        What kinds of serious trouble are you thinking of? And what kind of help? And how'd you convince these folks to take your idea seriously rather than thinking you're simply paranoid?

    • by Elisanre (1108341)
      He did tweet " the greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist" and basically disapeared for a month..
  • There will be more (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Omnifarious (11933) * <eric-slash@omnif ... g minus math_god> on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @02:16PM (#39277043) Homepage Journal

    This Hammond person is basically exactly who you'd expect him to be. There will be more. The amount of effort it took to catch him was considerable, and required an inside man. More people will follow this path. This problem cannot be solved this way.

    It could be solved if the man had turned out to be duping everybody about his values and beliefs. It could've soured and destroyed his credibility and made it less likely that anybody would trust the motives of anybody else who tried to do things like this. And while I expect a smear campaign, I also expect the smear campaign to be obvious and easily rebutted.

    The FBI is fighting an idea, and is under the mistaken impression they can shut it down by finding and arresting people. It won't happen.

    • You may be right you can't fight ideas but you can certainly fight groups. Just look at the italian mob versus what it used to be.

      • by gl4ss (559668)

        the italian mafia was the establishment. but they've been losing to the idea no matter how many guys they whacked, the mafia can't handle exposure.

    • by Anrego (830717) *

      This Hammond person is basically exactly who you'd expect him to be.

      Yup! I'm actually kind of disappointed. I was hoping for some some big shock.. instead nope.. he is exactly what I and just about everyone else pictured.

      The FBI is fighting an idea, and is under the mistaken impression they can shut it down by finding and arresting people. It won't happen.

      The FBI just demonstrated the risk. As I see it, things arn't really bad enough in the eyes of most to take that risk yet. At the very least, this action is going to delay things for a while (until things get worse and people are willing to risk a very real possibility of serious jail time).

    • Having less trust within the organization will certainly weaken it.

      Most importantly, the aura of invincibility is gone. These aren't hardened gang members who don't sweat going to prison or dying for a cause. When it becomes evident that jail time is a real possibility for these keyboard warriors, they will think twice before committing crimes.

      I am not saying it will stop everyone, but it will be hard to argue that it has no effect.

  • and fbi funds the guys who distribute cc's?
    tell, couldn't they now claim that fbi made them do it? couldn't stratfor (of all yuckies) now sue the feds for letting it happen?

    (anyhow, seems like possibly the biggest "damages" are actually from using so many feds on this. seems like ridiculously overboard. it's not like this is the mexican mafia you know. and the log on the article doesn't paint a too bad picture about the intended speculated use for the cc's, to buy server time to distribute the rest of the m

  • Leak poisoning (Score:5, Interesting)

    by l00sr (266426) on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @02:18PM (#39277081)

    I think the most interesting part of this by far is how the FBI managed to undermine the credibility of Wikileaks by getting them to leak arguably bogus material: Sabu actually used FBI equipment to hack Stratfor while under their employment. So... next time an intelligence leak rolls around, how are we supposed to know it wasn't a three-letter-agency spreading disinformation?

    • by gl4ss (559668)

      how did you ever know? you didn't. it's what's in the data that matters. a lot of things could be fabricated - but if it's fabricated really well and is as good as truth, checks out even, what's actually the difference?

      • by Dr. Tom (23206)

        It was pretty clear Stratfor was a bunch of idiots, once you went through the material that was leaked. Now we know the FBI targeted them specifically for the fall because they were a bunch of noobs and nothing of value would be lost. We already knew nothing of value had come from it, except that Stratfor was a ridiculous company.

      • by Obfuscant (592200)

        a lot of things could be fabricated - but if it's fabricated really well and is as good as truth, checks out even, what's actually the difference?

        What's the difference between the truth and a lie? This is just sad. Very very sad.

    • Re:Leak poisoning (Score:5, Insightful)

      by drobety (2429764) on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @02:44PM (#39277381)

      Why would Wikileaks' credibility be undermined? Wikileaks' primary purpose is to publish what is leaked to them, and they did just that in this case:

      WikiLeaks believes that best way to truly determine if a story is authentic, is not just our expertise, but to provide the full source document to the broader community - and particularly the community of interest around the document ... Journalists and governments are often duped by forged documents. It is hard for most reporters to outsmart the skill of intelligence agency frauds. WikiLeaks, by bringing the collective wisdoms and experiences of thousands to politically important documents will unmask frauds like never before ... How does WikiLeaks test document authenticity? [wikileaks.org]

    • I think the most interesting part of this by far is how the FBI managed to undermine the credibility of Wikileaks by getting them to leak arguably bogus material: Sabu actually used FBI equipment to hack Stratfor while under their employment. So... next time an intelligence leak rolls around, how are we supposed to know it wasn't a three-letter-agency spreading disinformation?

      Wikileaks is not just passing on, but also checking and cleaning material. Otherwise it would be Openleaks. Nobody doubted that the Stratfor leak was a fake.

      The trouble with Wikileaks is selection bias: More leaks come from the US because more is received by Wikileaks. That doesn't mean the corruption index is higher than some other countries. But Wikileaks also prioritizes, and chooses what to put on the "front page". That is worrisome.

      • by drobety (2429764)

        Wikileaks is not just passing on, but also checking and cleaning material. Otherwise it would be Openleaks. Nobody doubted that the Stratfor leak was a fake.

        Huh? "Cleaning material"? "Openleaks", the guys who papershred the leaked materials they had? "Nobody doubted that the Stratfor leak was a fake"... "Nobody"? Wait, how exactly do you know it is indeed "fake"? "The trouble with Wikileaks is selection bias"... Hum yes, an organisation dedicated to transparency will usually publish materials which document wrongdoings, that's the bias.

        • "Nobody doubted that the Stratfor leak was a fake"

          Oops I of course meant "Nobody doubted that the Stratfor leak was real" or "Nobody thought that the Stratfor leak was a fake".
          Yes, cleaning material, as in removing document headers, watermarks, etc.

  • noobs (Score:4, Informative)

    by Lehk228 (705449) on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @02:22PM (#39277123) Journal
    They were working too closely together and trusted each other, rookie mistakes get behind 7 proxies and LURK MOAR
    • by Baloroth (2370816)
      And how well did that work out for Sabu? He may have been used to find the identities of other hackers, but I haven't seen any evidence he was caught that way, which means that while it is easier for the FBI to use CIs, they certainly don't need them to catch Anon/Lulzsec members.
      • Sabu got caught because he slipped in renewing a domain under his real name and was subsequently doxed at least once.

        I feel kind of dirty, typing "doxed".

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @02:22PM (#39277125)

    TFA: As it turns out, this Sabu guy wasn't the real target of the FBI. They just used him as the linchpin for a long effort to ensnare Hammond, who already has quite the lengthy rap sheet. This implies to me that the FBI was not conducting detective work to bust Lulzsec/Anonymous, but were more interested in hunting down someone who was known to be an effective anti-government actor and finding a way to put him behind bars for a long time. For all the slashdotters who often claim that allowing political dissent is the difference between US and China, well, this is how we silence political dissent in the US. Take out the people who can actually effect change and reform, and allow the masses of the powerless to believe that they are free because they can speak (and nothing more). This government is no better than China's, it's just more tactful/less blatant about achieving its end goal and thereby more insidious. In either country, the average citizen is powerless against the marriage of government and corporation.

    • by jesseck (942036) on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @03:01PM (#39277617)

      TFA: As it turns out, this Sabu guy wasn't the real target of the FBI. They just used him as the linchpin for a long effort to ensnare Hammond, who already has quite the lengthy rap sheet. T

      This is exactly what many articles are stating. The unsettling thing is, Hammond had to ask the Judge for a copy of his charge sheet so he could see what he did wrong. Did the FBI not have the evidence / ability to find Hammond on their own? Or did Hammond happen to be the "leader" of Anon the FBI was seeking when they compromised Sabu?

      It doesn't sound like Hammond lived the life of a hermit, and that people knew who he was and how to find him. So why did the FBI need to go through Sabu to arrest him? It may be the connection from Sabu -> Lulzsec -> Anon -> Hammond which will demonize this activist in the eyes of the general population. Hell, I don't know... I just live here and think out loud.

      • by MarkvW (1037596)

        The FBI always has the basic problem of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that the person seated in the defendant's chair actually sat at a computer and typed the stuff that resulted in the charged crime. That is why they did all the actual physical surveillance of the guy.

        Sabu put Hammond into a connection with other people conspiring to do bad things. From that comes warrants, etc. that lead to other stuff.

        They put a lot of effort into Hammond, because Hammond is a talented destroyer of other people's w

    • by dave562 (969951)

      What was that dirty hippy living off of welfare going to change and reform? He was leeching off of the very system that is broken. He reminds me of those OWS cry babies who think they are sticking it to the system by refusing to pay their student loans. The guy was not a revolutionary leader. He was someone who failed to make it in society and became bitter with the very system that he allowed himself to become dependent upon.

    • by poity (465672)

      You've sugar-coated what he did with the phrase "political dissent" in order to spin him into a hero of some sort. In which utopia do you envision the dumping of private information and credit card numbers being respected as a form of "political dissent"? You'll find far better liberals than Hammond anywhere you look. I'd say this might be another case of 1st world problems -- here you are, churning out these melodramatic flourishes to frame petty vandalism as an act that champions the everyman, while on th

  • by sander (7831) on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @02:26PM (#39277165)

    It raises a lot of questions about which initiatives of Lulzsec are actually genuinely their work and which as really the work of FBI, carried out by the willing hands of Lulzsec. Maybe FBI wanted to take down Stratfor, but lacking a legitimate way, siced their inside man on it. It will also make for a very obvious defence for anybody arrested - they have a very easy way of claiming that what they did was on orders of Sabu and hence the law enforcement agency themselves now trying to prosecute them.

    This is also going to be a big blow to credibility of FBI.

  • "Now, those beliefs could land him in serious trouble."

    Hammond is not in trouble because of his beliefs. He is free to have beliefs and advocate for change. Instead of building and making, he destroyed and discredited his ideas.

         

  • by tekrat (242117) on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @02:37PM (#39277293) Homepage Journal

    At least now I can go after them. Let me call the FBI to start an investigation... Wait... who are the "good guys" again? Can I really ask the authorities to prosecute themselves? And then the rest of the world wonders why some are drawn to vigilante justice.

  • by _0x783czar (2516522) on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @02:51PM (#39277467) Homepage Journal
    LulzSec (much like Anonymous) and other Hacktivists have high minded goals about online security and privacy. But their behavior is of the most misguided sort. To bring about change you must win the hearts and minds of the public. LulzSec did neither. They may have entertained, but the generally just ticked a lot of people off and gave hackers everywhere a bad name. Remember, the average voter is not a geek/hacker and does not find LulzSec's work particularly "Lulzy"
  • If the FBI are to stand any chance at catching these people in the future they can't rely on manpower.

    Seems like an awful lot of work went in to catching Hammond. Watching his traffic - having Sabu watch when his suspected profiles log on/off. Watching what MAC addresses connected to his wireless router, etc.

    If there were 100 Hammonds- 100 Lulzsecs- could they catch them all. What if there were 1000? I don't know how many hacker groups they watch at once- most don't advertise themselves like Lulz did.

  • pwn3d.
  • Was Sabu working for the FBI when Anonymous took down all those child porn sites in October...?

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