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Details Of FBI Surveillance In Lulzsec Takedown Emerge

Unknown Lamer posted more than 2 years ago | from the just-because-you're-paranoid dept.

Security 278

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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Traitors (5, Insightful)

Lordgenome (2582079) | more than 2 years ago | (#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:Traitors (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39277001)

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 (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#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 (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39277351)

Whatever laurelei.

Re:Traitors (5, Informative)

Oswald McWeany (2428506) | more than 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:Traitors (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39277807)

Those incidents happened before the FBI was interested, those incidents are what generated the dox in the first place by the people in his own group that just plain didn't like him and were monitoring him for mistakes, his and GoDaddy's mistakes yes, but it was those dox that created the FBI leads in the first place when they wanted to look into who's who in that group.

Re:Traitors (5, Insightful)

Crasoose (1621969) | more than 2 years ago | (#39277003)

In the government we call them whistle blowers. Not exactly the same, but It's something to think about.

Re:Traitors (4, Insightful)

Anrego (830717) | more than 2 years ago | (#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 (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#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 (5, Insightful)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 2 years ago | (#39277385)

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:Traitors (3, Insightful)

Chakra5 (1417951) | more than 2 years ago | (#39278127)

It's not a zero sum game

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

So you'll feel the same way about Bradley Manning? (2, Interesting)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 2 years ago | (#39277045)

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.

Re:So you'll feel the same way about Bradley Manni (5, Insightful)

Omnifarious (11933) | more than 2 years ago | (#39277105)

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.

Re:So you'll feel the same way about Bradley Manni (4, Informative)

buchner.johannes (1139593) | more than 2 years ago | (#39277301)

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.

Re:So you'll feel the same way about Bradley Manni (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39277477)

Or: If you want to be mean to people, be sure you have the backing of a major government.

Re:So you'll feel the same way about Bradley Manni (4, Funny)

winterchapo (1787988) | more than 2 years ago | (#39277487)

I freaking knew this forever alone life choice was gonna come in handy some day!

Re:So you'll feel the same way about Bradley Manni (1)

Isaac Remuant (1891806) | more than 2 years ago | (#39277755)

or don't care about anyone so they have no leverage over you!

I'm not anti-social! Just careful!

Re:So you'll feel the same way about Bradley Manni (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39277933)

The most dangerous person to society is the person with nothing to lose. The primary mechanism of control is to make sure the individual you want to control has something to lose (a spouse, children, material possessions, reputation, afterlife, etc.) that (they know) you can take away when you want to coerce the individual to behave in a manner of your choosing. Marriage and other social/legal contracts aren't there for you, they are there for your dependents. By dependents I really mean your government/society, your rearing and indoctrination of your children is a given. None of this is, of course, necessarily a bad thing when you consider the alternatives.

Re:So you'll feel the same way about Bradley Manni (1)

locotx (559059) | more than 2 years ago | (#39278073)

He should have known better as a father that they would use his children as the crutch to break him.

Unit, Corps, God, Country. A few good men (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39277207)

Both Sabu and Manning betrayed the highest level of trust. They hurt their running buddies in War. They have no honor.

Re:Unit, Corps, God, Country. A few good men (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39277503)

The guys overseas in the War hurt *themselves* with their dishonorable treatment of civilians and prisoners of war. Bradley Manning just made their mistakes visible to the public. True soldiers should applaud his stand for justice.

Bullsh*t (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39277793)

Ok Uncle Sam. If you saw your unit committing crimes (e.g. murdering civilians) you'd play the "honor thy unit" card and not say anything? That sounds more dishonorable and cowardly.

Re:Traitors (1)

magamiako1 (1026318) | more than 2 years ago | (#39277073)

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

Re:Traitors (1)

Brannoncyll (894648) | more than 2 years ago | (#39277205)

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'!

Re:Traitors (1)

magamiako1 (1026318) | more than 2 years ago | (#39277545)

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

He made a mistake.

Re:Traitors (2)

Brannoncyll (894648) | more than 2 years ago | (#39277767)

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.

Re:Traitors (1, Flamebait)

flyingsquid (813711) | more than 2 years ago | (#39277535)

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 on one of the men, which is not something a civilian would carry around) and it's a horrific case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time in an active battlefield. Maybe at some level releasing that stuff is good for the public, to give us an idea of the awful costs of war- the reporters and civilians killed, and the helicopter pilots who have to live for the rest of their lives knowing they did that- but it's not evidence of illegal or unethical activity. Much of the remaining stuff released by manning, for example the idea that some diplomats think that Medvedev is "Robin to Putin's Batman" is an interesting insight into the workings of our government, but not really necessary for us to evaluate our government. So how is that whistleblowing?

I'm all in favor of whistleblowing, the issue I have is that releasing people's private communications, regardless of whether they reveal unethical behaviour or not, isn't really whistleblowing.

Re:Traitors (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39278011)

That wasn't an RPG, that was the camera being carried on the reporter's shoulder. They made no attempt to get any "ground truth" and just opened fire on people who hadn't been seen in combat, just nearby. There was no proof they were embedded with insurgents. They also fired on a van that stopped to aid casualties, a violation of US rules of engagement and international law. Then they took the time to joke about it, a truly sleazy move.

Maybe weakly defensible from the copter crew's position but the public had a right to see how frivolously the war was being run. To break the veneer of a squeaky clean "god bless our troops" war? That is whistleblowing.

Re:Traitors (3, Informative)

cavreader (1903280) | more than 2 years ago | (#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 (5, Insightful)

registrations_suck (1075251) | more than 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:Traitors (1)

Omnifarious (11933) | more than 2 years ago | (#39277131)

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.

You Paint the World so Perfectly Black and White (5, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 2 years ago | (#39277183)

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.

Re:You Paint the World so Perfectly Black and Whit (2)

Dhalka226 (559740) | more than 2 years ago | (#39277957)

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 "look how good of a parent I am!" card, isn't it?

Would I risk my loved ones for my ideals? Probably not. But see, I would make that determination before I decided to commit federal crimes and then not commit them. If I decide to commit the crimes, I have already abandoned my children to the hope I am never caught. Having a last-minute change of heart doesn't make him noble and it doesn't make up for what he did to his kids--he's still likely to go to jail.

Since we're quoting media it reminds me of a scene from The Simpsons, where Bart is talking to an, ahem, faith healer:

Bart: I figure I'll go for the life of sin, followed by the presto-change-o deathbed repentance.
Brother Faith: Wow, that's a good angle. Uh, but it's not God's angle. Why not spend your life helping people instead? Then you're also covered in case of sudden death.
Bart: Full coverage? Hmm...

Sorry, Sabu; you don't get full coverage. So yeah, he deserves our derision for being a scumbag to his children. He also deserves our derision for squealing like a stuck pig the second he was caught, and for throwing everybody who acted with him under the bus to save himself.

Every single turn on this whole LulzSec trip he has shown himself to be utterly and completely self-interested. "Should I commit crimes? Forget the kids." "Oh no, consequences! Forget the others!" He can try to paint it however he wants, but he's still a little fuck from every perspective I can see.

Re:Traitors (2, Interesting)

DaveV1.0 (203135) | more than 2 years ago | (#39277299)

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 (1)

GmExtremacy (2579091) | more than 2 years ago | (#39277523)

The fact that you would believe differently than you do now if you were in a different situation does not mean that your current views are wrong.

I can apply that logic to you, or anyone. In fact, it even applies to the guy you just replied to. "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." The guy in your scenario would believe differently if that didn't happen to him. Therefore, his views are wrong.

I wish people would stop spouting this "if you were in a different situation..." nonsense.

Re:Traitors (5, Insightful)

theshowmecanuck (703852) | more than 2 years ago | (#39277357)

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).

Re:Traitors (5, Insightful)

flyingsquid (813711) | more than 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:Traitors (2)

Lordgenome (2582079) | more than 2 years ago | (#39277841)

Nobody forced him to break the law in the first place.

Exactly, he knew what risks he was taking when he decided to pull and organize all the stunts LulzSec put together. Should others suffer because of his choice? No. He should have been a man and accepted the fact that he did the crime and was caught, so he should suffer. Instead, he compromised dozens of others in his quest for personal relief. Justify it any way you want, he still screwed over others to protect himself. He is a selfish idiot that should have never risked his family in the first place to get Lulz, but he did, that is HIS bad. It was dumb of the rest of Anon to trust him as well, but they did not choose to betray him, it's the other way around.

Re:Traitors (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39278269)

This is the USA we're talking about. Honestly, I'd be surprised if it wasn't along the lines of "Help us or we kill you and your family, possibly involving torture, and your bodies will never be found. And we'll find the others in due time anyway, so what'll it be, torture and death, or help us?" That'd have a significantly greater chance of flipping someone to work with the FBI.

Re:Traitors (1)

Hoi Polloi (522990) | more than 2 years ago | (#39277689)

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?"

Re:Traitors (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39277719)

Yes, well the deepest circles of hell won't be visited by them which don't die now will it? Hmm, no I suppose they won't so the great capt jack also once said all that matters is that which a man can do, and that which a man cannot do. Savvy?

Re:Traitors (0)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 2 years ago | (#39277997)

What dimwit modded that insightful comment "troll"? You all know who the most famous snitch in history was -- Judas Iscariot.

God hates narcs, so it was probably one of the resident evangelical antitheists or satanists who modded you down.

The worst part of this is, the narc is usually a worse criminal than the one he's snitching on. The cops will bust the biggest dope dealer in town, he'll sing, turn in all his customers and help set up stings to make it look like THEY are dope dealers, then spend half as long in prison than they do.

I agree wholeheartedly, there's a special place in hell for informers. Especially the cowards who inform to save their own asses.

Lesson for other hacking groups (4, Insightful)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#39276987)

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

Not likley to do any good (5, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:Not likley to do any good (2)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#39277201)

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.

The police are smarter than you think (5, Interesting)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:The police are smarter than you think (2)

Chakra5 (1417951) | more than 2 years ago | (#39278581)

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

Re:Not likley to do any good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39278449)

and the police/prosecutors then absolve your plea deal you had agreed to, and you get the full charges against you because you didn't get the results they had wanted, and and isn't it awful suspicious everyone they were looking for mysteriously disappeared a few days after you talked to them?

The police my be thugs but they aren't stupid.

Re:Lesson for other hacking groups (2, Insightful)

Beardo the Bearded (321478) | more than 2 years ago | (#39277219)

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.

Re:Lesson for other hacking groups (2)

Elisanre (1108341) | more than 2 years ago | (#39277265)

He did tweet " the greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist" and basically disapeared for a month..

Re:Lesson for other hacking groups (1)

I Read Good (2348294) | more than 2 years ago | (#39277509)

That doesn't work out very well if the police have all of your chat logs...

Re:Lesson for other hacking groups (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#39278097)

Any half-decent hacker disables chat logs before using any chat app.

Re:Lesson for other hacking groups (1)

I Read Good (2348294) | more than 2 years ago | (#39278163)

That's telling, because they seem to have a lot of chat logs from all of these guys.

There will be more (4, Insightful)

Omnifarious (11933) | more than 2 years ago | (#39277043)

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.

Re:There will be more (2)

shawn(at)fsu (447153) | more than 2 years ago | (#39277143)

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.

Re:There will be more (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 2 years ago | (#39277273)

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.

Re:There will be more (1)

The Wild Norseman (1404891) | more than 2 years ago | (#39277407)

the italian mafia was the establishment.

What do you mean? The Italian mafia still is the establishment.

Re:There will be more (1)

leonardluen (211265) | more than 2 years ago | (#39278563)

i think it is spelled "Mafiaa" now and sometimes "RIAA"

Re:There will be more (1)

JockTroll (996521) | more than 2 years ago | (#39277881)

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.

When following that idea costs you your job, house, family and life nobody will follow it anymore. Don't delude yourself: those guys are not hardcore fanatics devoted to their cause to the death. They thought it was risk-free, like a game. Now it's different. I could bet that at this moment a lot of scared kids are wiping their hard drives.

Re:There will be more (1)

Anrego (830717) | more than 2 years ago | (#39278061)

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).

Re:There will be more (1)

brainzach (2032950) | more than 2 years ago | (#39278373)

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.

so.. feds sell guns to mexican mafia.. (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 2 years ago | (#39277051)

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 material).

Good riddance, LulzSec (0)

bhlowe (1803290) | more than 2 years ago | (#39277055)

Black collar criminals are every bit as bad as white collar ones and street thugs. Society can quickly fall apart when a minority attempt to take laws and justice into their own hands.

Re:Good riddance, LulzSec (1)

Stargoat (658863) | more than 2 years ago | (#39277107)

Black collar criminals are every bit as bad as white collar ones and street thugs. Society can quickly fall apart when a minority attempt to take laws and justice into their own hands.

Except for all the times that it didn't, of course.

We'd all be better off today with less police and more tar and feathers. Except for those getting tarred and feathered. Maybe. They still might be better off than being thrown into the rape cafe.

Leak poisoning (4, Interesting)

l00sr (266426) | more than 2 years ago | (#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?

Re:Leak poisoning (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 2 years ago | (#39277211)

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?

Re:Leak poisoning (1)

Dr. Tom (23206) | more than 2 years ago | (#39277473)

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.

Re:Leak poisoning (1)

Obfuscant (592200) | more than 2 years ago | (#39277947)

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 (5, Insightful)

drobety (2429764) | more than 2 years ago | (#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]

Re:Leak poisoning (1)

buchner.johannes (1139593) | more than 2 years ago | (#39277465)

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.

Re:Leak poisoning (1)

drobety (2429764) | more than 2 years ago | (#39277803)

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.

Re:Leak poisoning (1)

buchner.johannes (1139593) | more than 2 years ago | (#39278179)

"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 (3, Informative)

Lehk228 (705449) | more than 2 years ago | (#39277123)

They were working too closely together and trusted each other, rookie mistakes get behind 7 proxies and LURK MOAR

Re:noobs (1)

Baloroth (2370816) | more than 2 years ago | (#39277349)

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 was the small fish (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:Sabu was the small fish (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39277373)

"Affect change."

Re:Sabu was the small fish (4, Interesting)

jesseck (942036) | more than 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:Sabu was the small fish (2)

MarkvW (1037596) | more than 2 years ago | (#39278621)

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 work. He is going to go down for years.

Increase hilarity (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39277137)

Awesome. With all these details being made public, the various punk kids trying to make a name for themselves will "learn" from it and become MORE paranoid and MORE antisocial just to avoid being caught in this same way. Which means the tinfoil hat crowd will get even more hilarious than they were before! I know, I can hardly imagine it, but — and this is the best part — they'll find a way to make it happen!

Never-ending amusement! Thanks, tinfoil hat crowd! Just remember, They(tm) can be anyone, and they're probably right behind you wherever you're not looking!

So, was Stratfor taken down on orders of FBI? (5, Interesting)

sander (7831) | more than 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:So, was Stratfor taken down on orders of FBI? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39277245)

Depends. Remember that some juries will believe an attorney who claims suspects, upon proving they called the local police to report FBI informants, were really just trying to be clever in advance.
    At least if the suspects are poor, moslem negroes, on trial for being bribed to carry out an FBI terrorist plot.

I disagree with the last line of the article (2)

RossR (94714) | more than 2 years ago | (#39277251)

"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.

     

Re:I disagree with the last line of the article (1)

_0x783czar (2516522) | more than 2 years ago | (#39277413)

agreed

FBI are a bunch of pussies (-1, Troll)

MacGyver2210 (1053110) | more than 2 years ago | (#39277253)

Can't beat them on even ground? Not capable of understanding the technology your are supposedly protecting better than a bunch of teenagers?

Do what the feds do. Resort to lying, informants, and other associated faggotry to get your way without having to do your fucking job.

Only a complete newfag asshole would turn on his friends for no reason but to save his own ass. Don't even attempt to compare that to whistleblowers.

Re:FBI are a bunch of pussies (2)

brainzach (2032950) | more than 2 years ago | (#39278057)

Like it or not, the FBI did outsmart many of the members of Lulzsec.

While the Feds may lack the technology skills, they are able to make it up with their expertise in social engineering.

Re:FBI are a bunch of pussies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39278407)

Like it or not, the FBI did outsmart many of the members of Lulzsec.

While the Feds may lack the technology skills, they are able to make it up with their expertise in social engineering.

This. Anonymous isn't the only organization that lives by the slogan "We do not forgive. We do not forget. Expect us."

So do the Feds. They investigated, they established probable cause, they got warrants, they made arrests, and the suspects will receive trials.

Whatever color hat you wear (mine happens to be white, but it may or may not have a few smudgy fingerprints on it from decades past), this was good solid police work, and it was done by the book. Well-played, FBI, well-played.

So, I can sue the FBI for my identity theft? (3, Insightful)

tekrat (242117) | more than 2 years ago | (#39277293)

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.

entrapment (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39277329)

isn't it potentially entrapment if an fbi informant convinces others to commit cimes? do you really think sabu sat back passively and just joined in on things and never once suggested anything? if he did, wouldn't the others notice a drastic change in behavior?

good luck to the defense lawyers proving this though. it'll be his word against theirs.

When will they learn the rules... (1)

osu-neko (2604) | more than 2 years ago | (#39277347)

Stay alert, TRUST NO ONE, keep your laser handy...

Re:When will they learn the rules... (1)

LoP_XTC (312463) | more than 2 years ago | (#39277993)

Stay alert, TRUST NO ONE, keep your laser handy...

Im sorry citizen oso-neko but the lack of grade in your name indicates you are an infrared citizen and knowledge of that motto is restricted to red or higher grades. Please see the computer for reassignment to food-vat of your choice.

get it right (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39277355)

2001 ( drink or die raids)
they put a server in debug mode and sat listening to all conversations and everyone knows TOR is a transparent proxy
AKA they caught him cause he used TOR

*sigh* (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39277389)

Are they just stupid? This is why you trust *no one*. They don't need to know your personal details, and if you're going to do something, make sure to remain anonymous (as much as possible).

Entrapment? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39277433)

I may be mistaken, but this seems to me to be a textbook example of entrapment. "Here, have a free server, get some credit card numbers for me"

LulzSec: a failed movement (5, Insightful)

_0x783czar (2516522) | more than 2 years ago | (#39277467)

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"

my 2 cents (1)

M0j0_j0j0 (1250800) | more than 2 years ago | (#39277579)

This is all part of the game, and probably fake , they are trying to spread havoc among the crackers.

FBotI (1)

Oswald McWeany (2428506) | more than 2 years ago | (#39277623)

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. Seems like it required a lot of effort to catch one man- could they afford to do that in 100 or 1000 concurrent investigations.

To stand a chance the FBI needs an F-Bot-I to do the watching/monitoring, etc. Otherwise- as this problem grows- they won't be able to track everyone at once.

It'll be like one cop trying to pull over speeders on the interstate during rush hour. You can catch one or two- but the vast majority will just slide right on through.

yeah (1)

buddyglass (925859) | more than 2 years ago | (#39278019)

pwn3d.

"What are you, (1)

I Read Good (2348294) | more than 2 years ago | (#39278105)

stoned or stupid? You don't hack a bank across state lines from your house, you'll get nailed by the FBI. Where are your brains, in your ass? Don't you know anything?"

I can't believe they caught the twats at home. If these guys were worth their salt they would have done the following:

-Stayed mobile.

-Done some of the things that this list [slashdot.org] warns people to look out for.

-TRUSTED NO ONE.

Interesting timing (1)

Fned (43219) | more than 2 years ago | (#39278315)

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

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