LulzSec
March 6, 2012 7:51 AM   Subscribe

Law enforcement agents on two continents swooped in on top members of the infamous computer hacking group LulzSec early this morning

Previously on metafilter.
posted by Ad hominem (180 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

 
That leaked conference call was a honeypot wasn't it.
posted by humanfont at 7:54 AM on March 6, 2012 [9 favorites]


"It was because of his kids," one of the two agents recalled. "He’d do anything for his kids. He didn’t want to go away to prison and leave them. That’s how we got him."
He had been doxed a long time ago. Just means future groups will have better operational security.
posted by yeoz at 7:55 AM on March 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


That's possibly the most trivial use of a photo slideshow I've ever seen.
posted by jbickers at 7:56 AM on March 6, 2012 [8 favorites]


LOL!
posted by jannw at 7:56 AM on March 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


Followup alleges Sabu took orders from CIA to leave agency alone.
posted by Ad hominem at 7:59 AM on March 6, 2012


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

Just sayin'.

Hammond was arrested on access device fraud and hacking charges and is believed to have been the main person behind the devastating December hack on U.S. security company Stratfor.

Believed by who, exactly? Fox News?
posted by Sys Rq at 7:59 AM on March 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


"finding stolen credit card numbers he was selling to other hackers. "

Not strictly all about the lulz then.
posted by GallonOfAlan at 8:00 AM on March 6, 2012


what's that phrase the scriptkiddies like to use? v&d? v8d?
posted by Bwithh at 8:02 AM on March 6, 2012


He flipped on all those people over a 2 year jail sentence? Poor.
posted by jaduncan at 8:03 AM on March 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


Can I have a source on this that isn't Fox News, maybe? That would be awesome.
posted by koeselitz at 8:04 AM on March 6, 2012 [7 favorites]


BBC have run the story, although even they link back to Fox so it might just be churnalism.
posted by jaduncan at 8:06 AM on March 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


This is my surprised face.
posted by Optamystic at 8:06 AM on March 6, 2012


What does v8d mean?
posted by OmieWise at 8:07 AM on March 6, 2012


He flipped on all those people over a 2 year jail sentence? Poor.
he has kids!
posted by Bwithh at 8:07 AM on March 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


AP is reporting it as well.
posted by Ad hominem at 8:08 AM on March 6, 2012


Confirmed, unfortunately: AP have had sight of the court docs.
posted by jaduncan at 8:08 AM on March 6, 2012


Try this Washington Post one. Warning: paywall-ish block. A possible better one is the New York Times article.
posted by Old'n'Busted at 8:08 AM on March 6, 2012


...the unemployed, 28-year-old father of two allegedly commanded a loosely organized, international team of perhaps thousands of hackers from his nerve center in a public housing project on New York’s Lower East Side.

Nice to see Fox stays true to form. I guess the time pressure on the exclusive was such that they couldn't sneak in a "Sabu (D-NY)"?
posted by Vetinari at 8:09 AM on March 6, 2012 [14 favorites]


v&, as in "v + and", as in "vanned", as in "stuck in a black van and whisked off to an undisclosed location".
posted by cortex at 8:09 AM on March 6, 2012 [9 favorites]


v8rd is when you get v& a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.
posted by cortex at 8:10 AM on March 6, 2012 [37 favorites]


The offshoot of the loose network of hackers, Anonymous, believed to have caused billions of dollars in damage to governments, international banks and corporations, was allegedly led by a shadowy figure FoxNews.com has identified as Hector Xavier Monsegur.

- Fox News, March 6, 2012

Hackers penetrate and ravage delicate public and privately owned computer systems, infecting them with viruses, and stealing materials for their own ends. These people, they are terrorists.

- Agent Gill, Hackers, 1995.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 8:11 AM on March 6, 2012 [4 favorites]


Operational security is only as good as the weakest link, and anonymity goes out the window when one of your own turns on you for personal gain. Good lessons, really...

A few links: Brand new jokey Twitter account. Sabu's 2000 Puerto Rican Manifesto [internet archive], and a few people who had already d0xed him [last link=pdf].

Interesting how they split out Hammond as being Anonymous and the others as LulzSec. Not sure what that means.
posted by gemmy at 8:13 AM on March 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Man, Sabu's story really reminds me of the MOD guys in a way that most hacking news hasn't in a long time.
posted by invitapriore at 8:14 AM on March 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


He flipped on all those people over a 2 year jail sentence?

Where are folks seeing that Sabu only faced a 2-year sentence? yeoz's link quotes someone saying he faced a "lifetime in jail." Anyway, this bit from Ad Hominem's followup article is fascinating:

Sabu and his FBI handlers also disseminated false information to the public and hacker community—often through Twitter, sometimes through unsuspecting reporters who thought they’d landed an online interview with the notorious hacker. Their correspondence was sometimes directly with agents. More often it was with Sabu acting on strict guidance from the agents sitting with him, reading his every word.
posted by mediareport at 8:14 AM on March 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


he has kids!

Can't take the heat, don't do the crimes. To quote that Russian soldier, "As if, by contrast, we’d come from an orphanage into this s***hole." Lots of people have family too, so refusal to cooperate is the only honourable thing. Certainly over a 2 year sentence, out before then for good behaviour. Meh.

In this case, his family is about to be doxed to hell anyhow, so I'm not sure it was even the best selfish choice.
posted by jaduncan at 8:14 AM on March 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


Yeah, Sabu has been known for a while. Here is a pastebin with his name from Jun 2011
posted by Ad hominem at 8:14 AM on March 6, 2012


Ooh, here is the actual complaint filed against Sabu in NY.
posted by gemmy at 8:19 AM on March 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Certainly over a 2 year sentence, out before then for good behaviour.

Where are you seeing that?
posted by mediareport at 8:21 AM on March 6, 2012


Expect prison sentences in 3 figures. After all, an example must be made.
posted by acb at 8:22 AM on March 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


Can't take the heat, don't do the crimes.

LOL seriously? Agree with the laws or not, this is a group of criminals defined by their refusal to establish a public hierarchy or chain of command, often with no regard for people who are affected by their actions... and your reaction to this is "Stop Snitching?"

It's almost astounding how this parallels to internet griefing- once you find out a target's personal information, you have them. You can disagree or agree with the FBI's intentions here but in retrospect, it's sort of obvious that this was the best move for them.

Of course these hackers are real people with families and lives and wants and fears. That's, you known, their weakness. "We are legion" is a marketing phrase. "I have two kids" is reality.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 8:23 AM on March 6, 2012 [14 favorites]


"Agents had already subpoenaed Sabu’s Facebook account, finding stolen credit card numbers he was selling to other hackers. They had enough to charge him with aggravated identity theft, which carries a two-year minimum sentence. But as the brains behind LulzSec, the man staring across the doorway at them on that summer night last year was much more valuable as a cooperating witness."

Read more. It's Fox, so may or may not be true. They certainly seem to have the scoop on this occasion though.
posted by jaduncan at 8:24 AM on March 6, 2012


I guess I don't have a massive amount of sympathy for this guy and for all the people that got arrested – they did things that were wrong – but the increasingly unbearable blare of high dudgeon and FBI-induced paranoia is very hard to listen to.

jaduncan: “He flipped on all those people over a 2 year jail sentence? Poor.”

mediareport: “Where are folks seeing that Sabu only faced a 2-year sentence? yeoz's link quotes someone saying he faced a ‘lifetime in jail.’”

Yeah, and this is the FBI we're talking about – crimes he could actually be charged with probably didn't enter into it at all. Hell, they probably rolled him over with veiled threats against his family. That's how the FBI does things.
posted by koeselitz at 8:25 AM on March 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


Well to add another level to this. It is sort of widely regarded that handles like Sabu do not refer to a particular person but a role within the group and that Monsegur is now or has been "the sabu" but has not always been. I find all that really far fetched.
posted by Ad hominem at 8:27 AM on March 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


I missed that line, jaduncan, thanks. But while I'm not defending Sabu's decision to turn (I like to think if it was me I'd refuse), the idea that what he was running from was a 2-year sentence is misleading and unfair. 2 years was the *minimum* he would get, and that just from the Facebook credit card thing. They were in his house, taking his computers. Do you really think they wouldn't have found more things to charge him with? Do you really think *he* didn't know that?

Saying he flipped to the FBI "over a 2 year sentence, out before then for good behaviour" is really misleading, and you should stop doing it.
posted by mediareport at 8:30 AM on March 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


In this case, co-operation also appears to have led to a criminal complaint detailing his work against Tunisia, Yemen, Zimbabwe, Algeria, Visa, HBGary, Fox, Mastercard and Paypal.

Think that's two years even with snitches' discount? I would imagine not, even setting aside the probable 'don't touch a computer for 20 years' order. Rolling over on the encryption keys: not smart.
posted by jaduncan at 8:31 AM on March 6, 2012


It specifically states that he handed over the encryption keys for his laptop. A case for the rest would be a lot harder to make based on one unmasked IRC login rather than an entire hard drive. I don't think it's at all hard to imagine that threats aside, that wider case would have failed.
posted by jaduncan at 8:32 AM on March 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Tough break. He was lured back into the game for the chance to pull off one last big hack.
posted by Flashman at 8:33 AM on March 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


Fox really is vile. That article just oozes with right wing ideology...

An unemployed computer programmer, welfare recipient and legal guardian of two young children, Monsegur did not go to college and is a self-taught hacker. Although his skills and intellect could command a lucrative salary in the private sector, those who know him say he is lazy, an underachiever complacent with his lifestyle.
...
It was his anti-government, anti-capitalist ideologies that caused Monsegur to gravitate toward hacking, according to those who witnessed his ascent. His rare blend of interpersonal skills, technical ability and street cred, combined with the hacks he did, ensured his rapid ascent in the hacker community. Driven by politics, Monsegur once released personal information about Arizona law enforcement in response to the state’s immigration law.
...
Anonymous and LulzSec members call themselves “hacktivists,” hackers with an agenda, a theme that runs through Monsegur's career. For several years he worked at LimeWire, one of a group of software companies that created peer-to-peer sharing programs to help users "liberate" their music.
...
“Sabu could be making millions of bucks heading the IT security department of a major company,” a law enforcement official said. “But look at him, he’s impoverished, living off public assistance and was forced between turning on his friends and spending a lifetime in jail."
...
The only thing that's missing here is how it's somehow Obama's fault.
posted by MegoSteve at 8:34 AM on March 6, 2012 [45 favorites]


Oh goodness this is funny. My only worry is I'll run out of popcorn to shove through the huge grin on my face while I read all the reactions.
posted by Anything at 8:35 AM on March 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Ok, fair enough, jaduncan. I'm reading too fast.
posted by mediareport at 8:36 AM on March 6, 2012


Four guys? Four out of thousands in a leaderless organization?

Oh, but Sabu's the "leader" of... the four guys, I guess.
posted by LogicalDash at 8:37 AM on March 6, 2012


An unemployed computer programmer, welfare recipient...Although his skills and intellect could command a lucrative salary in the private sector, those who know him say he is lazy, an underachiever complacent with his lifestyle.

Lazy Puerto Rican Welfare Recipient Hacker Complacently Living in Public Housing Uses Saudi Alias To Terrorize Banks Instead of Collecting Lucrative Payday In Private Sector.

Never change, Fox, you bunch of finger-sniffing shit piles.
posted by StopMakingSense at 8:37 AM on March 6, 2012 [30 favorites]


An unemployed computer programmer, welfare recipient and legal guardian of two young children, Monsegur did not go to college and is a self-taught hacker. Although his skills and intellect could command a lucrative salary in the private sector, those who know him say he is lazy, an underachiever complacent with his lifestyle.
...
It was his anti-government, anti-capitalist ideologies that caused Monsegur to gravitate toward hacking, according to those who witnessed his ascent. His rare blend of interpersonal skills, technical ability and street cred, combined with the hacks he did, ensured his rapid ascent in the hacker community. Driven by politics, Monsegur once released personal information about Arizona law enforcement in response to the state’s immigration law.


wow... that reads like some sort of Stalinist "confession" script.
posted by ennui.bz at 8:40 AM on March 6, 2012 [26 favorites]


Four guys? Four out of thousands in a leaderless organization?

I'm under the impression that a large portion of those thousands have been DDOSing people with unobfuscated connections and could be trivially picked up if it looks worth the small trouble.
posted by Anything at 8:41 AM on March 6, 2012


In fact, I have to say that even 18 year olds know that you shut up until you have a private talk with your lawyer. Especially if you know you've done a lot.
posted by jaduncan at 8:42 AM on March 6, 2012


We don't know if he talked to a lawyer before handing over the encryption keys.
posted by mediareport at 8:47 AM on March 6, 2012


Anonymous has grown beyond LulzSec and Sabu (recently posted by one of the Anon Twitter accounts).
posted by tr33hggr at 8:48 AM on March 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


I wish these guys would lay low until the revolution starts. Until then it seems like they're just making the fences stronger.
posted by Trochanter at 8:49 AM on March 6, 2012 [4 favorites]


"The agents worked their prey, using the time-honored good cop/bad cop routine. Bad cop stormed out of Monsegur’s apartment yelling, “That’s it, no deal, it’s over, we’re locking you up.”

The computer genius finally gave in, surrendering to the most clichéd tool in the law enforcement arsenal. But the agents had more than just skills – they had leverage."

It's heavily implied that he did not, although I'll grant you that, again, it's somewhat yellow journalism from Fox.
posted by jaduncan at 8:51 AM on March 6, 2012


the unemployed, 28-year-old father of two

They caught him and he was secretly arrested and now works for the FBI

So he's not unemployed, then, is he? It seems Fox is attempting to use 'unemployed' as a slur, rather than a factual descriptor.
posted by The Discredited Ape at 8:54 AM on March 6, 2012 [9 favorites]


For all we know, he could have handed over the encryption keys on the advice of his lawyer. Under the circumstances, it might have been good advice to do so.

I have no sympathy for this guy or the rest of the griefer clowns currently calling themselves "Anonymous." The whole Stratfor thing was a crock of shit, and confirmed to me that they'll break into just about anything and then come up with an ex ante political justification for it. Which makes perfect sense, when you realize that the motivation isn't really politics at all, it's breaking shit; politics just happens to give them a cool story and justification for what they'd be doing anyway.

They remind me of the assholes in college who fashioned themselves "radicals" but were more interested in showing up to protests as an excuse for rioting than any meaningful political activity.
posted by Kadin2048 at 8:56 AM on March 6, 2012 [4 favorites]


If you can't stomach the Fox News article, simply do a find/replace swapping 'computer hacking' with 'mutant', 'hacker' with 'mutant', and LulzSec with 'X-Men' and you have a pretty decent synopsis of a 4 issue comicbook arc.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 8:58 AM on March 6, 2012 [40 favorites]


Which makes perfect sense, when you realize that the motivation isn't really politics at all, it's breaking shit; politics just happens to give them a cool story and justification for what they'd be doing anyway.

That's applying a rather broad brush to a swathe of people and opinions. It's like when people say "metafilter thinks this". Metafilter and anon are legion, not a singular entity.
posted by jaduncan at 8:58 AM on March 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Web resilience company CloudFlare, used by LulzSec to protect itself as it launched a series of high-profile attacks last year, has given details about how it was caught between the hacking group, counter-hackers and US intelligence agencies.
posted by Anything at 9:01 AM on March 6, 2012 [4 favorites]


There was a hacker threat to sabotage the 911 system.

Perhaps something good will come of this. Operation Sun Devil and the Craig Neidorf/Phrack trial, led to the formation of the Electronic Frontier Foundation
posted by rough ashlar at 9:01 AM on March 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


Lazy Puerto Rican Welfare Recipient Hacker Complacently Living in Public Housing Uses Saudi Alias To Terrorize Banks Instead of Collecting Lucrative Payday In Private Sector.

One of these lives has a futuurrre. And the other does not.
posted by saturday_morning at 9:02 AM on March 6, 2012 [7 favorites]


I posted a link to the relevant court documents earlier, but that server has been hit so hard that Brian Krebs (the security researcher) is about to take down/has taken down the file. If it goes down, here is a Google Docs version and a New York Post version [PDF].
posted by gemmy at 9:11 AM on March 6, 2012


My first thought was, he lied in every word. It's all theater, and I hate that I've been lied to so many times by the news media and my government that it's hard to say whether the lie is that they've caught someone, or that there was someone to catch in the first place.
posted by Mooski at 9:12 AM on March 6, 2012


I'm saddened by their arrests but hopeful that more shall follow in their footsteps. We cannot achieve a more transparent society without hackers and leakers shedding light upon things the powerful don't want generally known.
posted by jeffburdges at 9:13 AM on March 6, 2012 [8 favorites]


[An unemployed computer programmer, welfare recipient and legal guardian of two young children, Monsegur did not go to college and is a self-taught hacker. Although his skills and intellect could command a lucrative salary in the private sector, those who know him say he is lazy, an underachiever complacent with his lifestyle.
...
It was his anti-government, anti-capitalist ideologies that caused Monsegur to gravitate toward hacking, according to those who witnessed his ascent. His rare blend of interpersonal skills, technical ability and street cred, combined with the hacks he did, ensured his rapid ascent in the hacker community. Driven by politics, Monsegur once released personal information about Arizona law enforcement in response to the state’s immigration law.]

wow... that reads like some sort of Stalinist "confession" script.


It reads like "I wish I knew this guy, I bet we'd get along really well".

I mean, I've been wondering how long it would be before these guys got taken down, because they had to be taken down to preserve the state's monopoly on power/violence, but I'm sorry to see it happen.

I think there are a lot of young people who underestimate just how nasty the state can be and overestimate how strong they'll be under pressure. A good assumption to make is that if you are caught, the state will do whatever it takes to get you to knuckle under; staying tough is the rare, rare exception and not the rule. God knows what kind of threats they brought to bear on this guy.

My suggestion is to understand this not as a "good state/bad hacker" (bad hacker! messing with Visa!) issue, or even a "good/bad" issue at all. The state doesn't care if you're good or bad (consider Henry Kissinger, consider police abuse of detainees, consider US support for the murderous dictatorship in East Timor in the eighties/nineties, etc ad nauseum). The state cares only for the state. Do hacks for US interests and you're a hero; do hacks against US interests and you'll get knocked down.
posted by Frowner at 9:17 AM on March 6, 2012 [11 favorites]


Can someone please explain to me how this guy was good for society? A lot of people seem to be saddened by the takedown of a hacker organization. I remember when I was 15 thinking breaking into high-security networks and stealing confidential info was cool, but that was a long time ago.
posted by gagglezoomer at 9:18 AM on March 6, 2012 [5 favorites]


“Sabu could be making millions of bucks heading the IT security department of a major company,”
Yes... millions! *cough*
posted by smidgen at 9:22 AM on March 6, 2012 [19 favorites]


THey should really make sad-face Guy Fawkes masks for occasions like this
posted by thelonius at 9:24 AM on March 6, 2012 [15 favorites]


This phase of the operation we are now witnessing is known as the roll up.
posted by The Violet Cypher at 9:26 AM on March 6, 2012


“Sabu could be making millions of bucks heading the IT security department of a major company,” a law enforcement official said.

Lulz!
posted by mkultra at 9:26 AM on March 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


THey should really make sad-face Guy Fawkes masks for occasions like this

Or put them together for a nice comedy/tragedy twofer.
posted by Celsius1414 at 9:26 AM on March 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


I wish these guys would lay low until the revolution starts.

Perhaps the revolution happened long ago and the revolutionaries lost.
posted by rough ashlar at 9:27 AM on March 6, 2012 [10 favorites]


gagglezoomer: “Can someone please explain to me how this guy was good for society? A lot of people seem to be saddened by the takedown of a hacker organization. I remember when I was 15 thinking breaking into high-security networks and stealing confidential info was cool, but that was a long time ago.”

The story isn't sad because he was good for society. The story is sad because the FBI is bad for society.
posted by koeselitz at 9:29 AM on March 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


But wait! appearances on cable and then his book, which will then become a film, based on a real true happening
posted by Postroad at 9:30 AM on March 6, 2012


> An unemployed computer programmer, welfare recipient and legal guardian of two young children, Monsegur did not go to college and is a self-taught hacker. Although his skills and intellect could command a lucrative salary in the private sector, those who know him say he is lazy, an underachiever complacent with his lifestyle.

In other words, Fox news watchers, he's JUST LIKE YOU... except he knows what a computer is.
posted by seanmpuckett at 9:35 AM on March 6, 2012 [8 favorites]


Can someone please explain to me how this guy was good for society?

LulzSec - 1000th tweet statement
Yes, yes, there's always the argument that releasing everything in full is just as evil, what with accounts being stolen and abused, but welcome to 2011. This is the lulz lizard era, where we do things just because we find it entertaining. Watching someone's Facebook picture turn into a penis and seeing their sister's shocked response is priceless. Receiving angry emails from the man you just sent 10 dildos to because he can't secure his Amazon password is priceless. You find it funny to watch havoc unfold, and we find it funny to cause it. We release personal data so that equally evil people can entertain us with what they do with it.


Most of you reading this love the idea of wrecking someone else's online experience anonymously. It's appealing and unique, there are no two account hijackings that are the same, no two suddenly enraged girlfriends with the same expression when you admit to killing prostitutes from her boyfriend's recently stolen MSN account, and there's certainly no limit to the lulz lizardry that we all partake in on some level.
Truth to power!
posted by Anything at 9:39 AM on March 6, 2012 [6 favorites]


Turns out the hacker's hero was a simple credit card thief. But I'm sure all the other hackers will all turn out to be wonderful human beings.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:40 AM on March 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


hopeful that more shall follow in their footsteps.

No worries, I think there's a painted line on the floor for that.
posted by yerfatma at 9:42 AM on March 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


The story isn't sad because he was good for society. The story is sad because the FBI is bad for society.

Except the part about stopping a guy selling stolen credit card numbers. But I guess it's all okay unless it happens to be your credit card number.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:43 AM on March 6, 2012 [6 favorites]


The leader of a group of bullies rats out all his friends at first opportunity. *Surprised face*.

Set sail for jail!
posted by Anything at 9:46 AM on March 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Fox news watchers, he's JUST LIKE YOU

Fox news watchers aren't brown enough to consider themselves the unemployed, they're laid off, between work or consulting.
posted by jaduncan at 9:50 AM on March 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


LulzSec betrayed by Sabu himself? So many lulz.
posted by grouse at 9:50 AM on March 6, 2012


He seems to be quite a complex credit card thief, if he is spending the rest of his time doing things like hacking foreign oppressive governments. Don't know of anyone who thought Anonymous or Lulzsec were total good guys anyway.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 9:50 AM on March 6, 2012


They spent a lot of time spreading random internet users' account details and gloating about how those people are getting abused by their fans.
posted by Anything at 9:55 AM on March 6, 2012


So the mourners here are in some real good company.
posted by Anything at 9:56 AM on March 6, 2012


me: “The story isn't sad because he was good for society. The story is sad because the FBI is bad for society.”

Ironmouth: “Except the part about stopping a guy selling stolen credit card numbers. But I guess it's all okay unless it happens to be your credit card number.”

If you think I'm going to forgive more than a century of lies, paranoia, greed, abrogation of the US constitution, destructive "false flag" operations, and blatant violations of privacy just because the FBI triumphantly shouts that they've detained some little petty thief who well deserves to spend a few years in jail, you have vastly overestimated my capacity for forgiveness.

The FBI has done more damage than an idiot like Sabu could ever do. Everyone in this story is a bad person. The trouble is that the more nefarious bad guys are still at large.
posted by koeselitz at 9:56 AM on March 6, 2012 [7 favorites]


Can someone please explain to me how this guy was good for society? A lot of people seem to be saddened by the takedown of a hacker organization. I remember when I was 15 thinking breaking into high-security networks and stealing confidential info was cool, but that was a long time ago.

I dunno about "good for society", but when someone messes with and embarrasses large, powerful organizations that I distrust or dislike, I tend to enjoy it. Like the pie-in-the-face guys, or the Yes Men, or if Dick Cheney slipped on a banana peel or something.

It's also good to know that confidential information stored by said large powerful organizations can be accessed by anyone with the know-how, because we tend to put a lot of trust in these organizations. Also because there are certainly malevolent people/groups out there that could do a lot of damage with that stuff. Although once you start selling stolen credit card numbers perhaps you've crossed that line yourself.
posted by Hoopo at 9:58 AM on March 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


The leader of a group of bullies rats out all his friends at first opportunity.

Realistically, he was facing a lifetime sentence for "terrorism." In a US prison. Where rape is common, and tacitly condoned, and solitary is, well, ask Private Manning. While his kids are thrown into the New York system.

Most people facing that would roll.
posted by tyllwin at 10:00 AM on March 6, 2012 [8 favorites]


In this case, his family is about to be doxed to hell anyhow, so I'm not sure it was even the best selfish choice.

Because it's all about the lulz.
posted by rocket88 at 10:01 AM on March 6, 2012


In this case, his family is about to be doxed to hell anyhow, so I'm not sure it was even the best selfish choice.

I know, what about the threats against the family? These are the people that are helping? Really?
posted by Ironmouth at 10:05 AM on March 6, 2012


He had been doxed a long time ago. Just means future groups will have better operational security.

Here's the thing--these people are actively breaking into computer systems and then trumpeting the results. That's not operational security, its stupidity. This is how karma works. There are links between things. When you make or disturb a link or a thing, you draw all of the things attached to it towards you. Its not possible to have operational security doing this.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:09 AM on March 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


This happens so frequently in black hat circles that I'm surprised that they operate in groups anymore.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 10:09 AM on March 6, 2012


I wish these guys would lay low until the revolution starts.

What if it already has?
posted by euphorb at 10:13 AM on March 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


That's possibly the most trivial use of a photo slideshow I've ever seen.

That photo slideshow really is funny. LOLZ!
posted by straight at 10:13 AM on March 6, 2012


A lot of people seem to be saddened by the takedown of a hacker organization.

Really? From where I'm sitting, Metafilter seems to be in full-on Disapproving Dad mode on this one.

Personally, I'm not invested either way, except insofar as I was a big fan of Wargames and am hopeful that this all ends with Hector narrowly averting a nuclear apocalypse.
posted by El Sabor Asiatico at 10:25 AM on March 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


FBI press release
posted by Anything at 10:29 AM on March 6, 2012


via Ars Technica
posted by Anything at 10:29 AM on March 6, 2012


Not that I have any love for anonymous- as Anything's link above shows, Anonymous is almost always more interested in causing havoc in other people's lives for no reason other than being sociopaths (didn't MeFi have a link to some loser living in a crummy apartment who spent his time griefing people via prank calls, getting random low-level employees to do things like pee on a hotel floor, etc?etc) and they are the worst of the worst.

But this:
The suspected ringleader of the Anonymous offshoot group LulzSec, Hector Xavier Monsegur and his web minions had just completed a month-long reign of terror, hacking the CIA, Fox, Sony and several financial institutions, causing, according to some estimates, billions of dollars in damage around the world.
Billions of dollars? I know it's hopeless to even say it, but [citation needed], FoxNews.
posted by hincandenza at 10:29 AM on March 6, 2012 [4 favorites]


I just hope he was shouting 'hack the planet!' as they led him away
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 10:37 AM on March 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


jaduncan: "Which makes perfect sense, when you realize that the motivation isn't really politics at all, it's breaking shit; politics just happens to give them a cool story and justification for what they'd be doing anyway.

That's applying a rather broad brush to a swathe of people and opinions. It's like when people say "metafilter thinks this". Metafilter and anon are legion, not a singular entity.
"

Since we're talking hackers mutants - Is Legion really not a singular entity?
posted by symbioid at 10:46 AM on March 6, 2012


“Sabu could be making millions of bucks heading the IT security department of a major company,” a law enforcement official said.

HAHAHAHAHA Holy shit that's the funniest thing I've read all month. Thanks for the lulz, Mr or Ms. Unnamed Law Enforcement Official!
posted by deadmessenger at 10:47 AM on March 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


The FBI press release that Anything posted answers the question of how many years in jail Sabu is up for, and it's a hell of a lot more than two years.

MONSEGUR, 28, of New York, New York, pled guilty to three counts of computer hacking conspiracy, five counts of computer hacking, one count of computer hacking in furtherance of fraud, one count of conspiracy to commit access device fraud, one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud, and one count of aggravated identity theft. He faces a maximum sentence of 124 years and six months in prison. [emphasis added]
posted by gemmy at 10:49 AM on March 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Why is everyone here so flippant about a two year minimum prison sentence? Did I accidentally log onto www.metafilterforcons.com?
posted by meowzilla at 10:50 AM on March 6, 2012 [5 favorites]


Why is everyone here so flippant about a two year minimum prison sentence? Did I accidentally log onto www.metafilterforcons.com?

Seriously. Real easy to be an internet tough guy willing to take a gamble on a minimum 2 year prison sentence when you're posting on a message board. Not so easy when it's actually happening to you 'irl'.
posted by Fidel Cashflow at 10:57 AM on March 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


Hector Xavier Monsegur and his web minions had just completed a month-long reign of terror...

I know, it's Fox, but still.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 10:57 AM on March 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


from the deathandtaxes link

Here’s a suggestion to the FBI: Maybe you should spend a little less time pursuing Anonymous and put more effort into bringing to justice the white-collar criminals who crashed the economy in 2008, thereby pocketing billions and evaporating middle class savings, delaying retirement, and sending families into the grip of poverty; driving individuals to suicide, or illegal and prescription drug use to numb the pain; to theft, alcoholism, and welfare that the GOP hates so much; and saddling college graduates with hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt from which they won’t soon liberate themselves.

Yes, one can see how a DDoS attack launched against Sony Pictures would be a priority. The FBI does work for politicians after all, who are kept in office by the campaign donations of corporations.

posted by lalochezia at 11:01 AM on March 6, 2012 [10 favorites]


124 years, eh?

Tony Hayward - No charges filed

Angelo Mozilo - Charges dropped

Brad Morrice - Charges dropped

Richard Fuld - No charges filed

Fabrice Tourre - No charges filed

Stanely O'Neal - No charges filed

Nice priorities guys...
posted by WinnipegDragon at 11:03 AM on March 6, 2012 [15 favorites]


MONSEGUR, 28, of New York, New York, pled guilty to three counts of computer hacking conspiracy, five counts of computer hacking, one count of computer hacking in furtherance of fraud, one count of conspiracy to commit access device fraud, one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud, and one count of aggravated identity theft. He faces a maximum sentence of 124 years and six months in prison.

Argh, this drives me crazy when press releases or, worse, the press itself touts these figures which seem to be based on adding up the maximum sentences for each count. The federal government uses (insanely complex) sentencing guidelines, and departures upward from them are very rare (not least, because they are generally very harsh). See table 3 from this report, and 0.4 percent of fraud cases departed "upwards" from the guidelines. Now, he may very well be facing a ridiculous sentence--there are plenty of them in the federal criminal justice system--but 124.5 years is pretty much a meaningless number.

Why is everyone here so flippant about a two year minimum prison sentence?

This doesn't strike me as uncommon here actually--one thing that I've found surprising reading this site is how even relatively liberal people in a mostly American community are pretty much OK with sentencing most of the world finds wildly excessive as long as it isn't a "nonviolent drug offender" at the end of it.
posted by dsfan at 11:05 AM on March 6, 2012 [5 favorites]


Can we stop talking about a two-year prison sentence? He was facing vastly worse than that. He was facing two years for credit card fraud, and then God only knows what for the actual lulz.
posted by tyllwin at 11:11 AM on March 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


seanmpuckett: "> An unemployed computer programmer, welfare recipient and legal guardian of two young children, Monsegur did not go to college and is a self-taught hacker. Although his skills and intellect could command a lucrative salary in the private sector, those who know him say he is lazy, an underachiever complacent with his lifestyle.

In other words, Fox news watchers, he's JUST LIKE YOU... except he knows what a computer is.
"

Yeah, I had to LOL at the "didn't go to college" bit. I thought you right-winger types HATED college. I seem to recall a recent complaint that "Obama is trying to force kids to go to college and be elitist -- what's wrong w/blue collar hard workin' 'merican jobs?" But now, magically, he's a stain on society because he "didn't go to college". COGDIS BABY!
posted by symbioid at 11:18 AM on March 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


Man, Sabu's story really reminds me of the MOD guys in a way that most hacking news hasn't in a long time.

Well, they're both from New York, I'll give you that. How else are they alike?
posted by scalefree at 11:26 AM on March 6, 2012


There has been a widespread belief that Sabu was a rat for quite some time within the hacking community—an August 2011 chat between Sabu and Virus, for instance. Virus quite prophetically wrote in that infamous chat: “I’m absolutely positive, you already got raided, and are setting your friends up and when they’re done draining you for information and arrests they’ll sentence you and it’ll make nose.
posted by lazaruslong at 11:28 AM on March 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


one thing that I've found surprising reading this site is how even relatively liberal people in a mostly American community are pretty much OK with sentencing

If you were living in a police state would you know it?
posted by rough ashlar at 11:39 AM on March 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


It reads like "I wish I knew this guy, I bet we'd get along really well".

As an unemployed mathematician, welfare recipient and parent of two children, he makes me feel like a slacker.
posted by ennui.bz at 11:54 AM on March 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


If you were living in a police state would you know it?

Living in the U.S.A., I'm glad I don't have to deal with this question, since police states are things that happen to other countries. It can't happen here.
posted by El Sabor Asiatico at 11:58 AM on March 6, 2012 [4 favorites]


It can't happen here.

The large prison population along with the high conviction rate and all the laws on the books are just because Americans are a lawless bunch.
posted by rough ashlar at 12:10 PM on March 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


FBI names, arrests Anon who infiltrated its secret conference call
posted by homunculus at 12:20 PM on March 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


When will they finally make sarcasm illegal?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 12:26 PM on March 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


He flipped on all those people over a 2 year jail sentence? Poor.

We need a nerd equivalent of stop snitchin'.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:28 PM on March 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Can someone please explain to me how this guy was good for society?

Why we secretly love LulzSec: Elephant in room visible. Cans open. Worms everywhere...
posted by homunculus at 12:48 PM on March 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


If you think I'm going to forgive more than a century of lies, paranoia, greed, abrogation of the US constitution, destructive "false flag" operations, and blatant violations of privacy just because the FBI triumphantly shouts that they've detained some little petty thief who well deserves to spend a few years in jail, you have vastly overestimated my capacity for forgiveness.

The FBI has done more damage than an idiot like Sabu could ever do. Everyone in this story is a bad person. The trouble is that the more nefarious bad guys are still at large.


I understand what you're saying, and largely agree, but this smells like "two wrongs make a right." If you read their horrible tweet above, they clearly are not at all doing this for any sort of just or righteous reason, they are doing it for the lulz, and they don't care if those lulz are generated from the government, large corporation, or some random sap. I kinda think their communiques are crafted to be as infuriating as possible. If that's their "purpose," and they are busted, I think that's a good thing.

Here’s a suggestion to the FBI: Maybe you should spend a little less time pursuing Anonymous and put more effort into bringing to justice the white-collar criminals who crashed the economy in 2008, thereby pocketing billions and evaporating middle class savings, delaying retirement, and sending families into the grip of poverty; driving individuals to suicide, or illegal and prescription drug use to numb the pain; to theft, alcoholism, and welfare that the GOP hates so much; and saddling college graduates with hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt from which they won’t soon liberate themselves.

Not to derail, but (and I know this is a tenuous "source") but I saw Obama on 60 Minutes either shortly before or after the election, and he said the problem with prosecuting the fatcats was that they didn't break any laws. Rather, the exploited deficiencies in the system. Is that not correct?
posted by mreleganza at 1:10 PM on March 6, 2012


He flipped on all those people over a 2 year jail sentence? Poor.

We need a nerd equivalent of stop snitchin'.


I want credit card thieves snitched on.

I think stop snitchin is wrong, morally. A killer destroys a life and people aren't supposed to go to the police? That is a deep moral wrong on every level.
posted by Ironmouth at 1:23 PM on March 6, 2012 [4 favorites]


Here’s a suggestion to the FBI: Maybe you should spend a little less time pursuing Anonymous and put more effort into bringing to justice the white-collar criminals who crashed the economy in 2008, thereby pocketing billions and evaporating middle class savings, delaying retirement, and sending families into the grip of poverty; driving individuals to suicide, or illegal and prescription drug use to numb the pain; to theft, alcoholism, and welfare that the GOP hates so much; and saddling college graduates with hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt from which they won’t soon liberate themselves.

Again, if you have a crime you can point out and point out exactly which "criminals" you're talking about, let's do it. But people need to check up on the laws before assuming that the titanic stupidity that occurred was punishable criminally.
posted by Ironmouth at 1:25 PM on March 6, 2012


the problem with prosecuting the fatcats was that they didn't break any laws. Rather, the exploited deficiencies in the system.

Sometimes you get away with being deep moral wrongs, and destroying lives.
posted by titus-g at 1:25 PM on March 6, 2012


I'm sorry, Sabu lives in public housing named for Jacob Riis? Who writes these scripts?
posted by Scram at 1:35 PM on March 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


Murderers? Yeah, snitch. Pot dealers? No. The moral wrong in some cases is enforcement.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 1:39 PM on March 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


As an Irishman strangely proud 2 of them were our lot, punching above our weight, hackers per capita etc
posted by Damienmce at 1:53 PM on March 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


mreleganza: “I understand what you're saying, and largely agree, but this smells like ‘two wrongs make a right.’ If you read their horrible tweet above, they clearly are not at all doing this for any sort of just or righteous reason, they are doing it for the lulz, and they don't care if those lulz are generated from the government, large corporation, or some random sap. I kinda think their communiques are crafted to be as infuriating as possible. If that's their ‘purpose,’ and they are busted, I think that's a good thing.”

I made it a point to mention that I think Sabu should be in jail. But I read more than the tweets – you can read a chat log between Sabu and another guy from last August wherein the other guy claimed to be certain Sabu had already been arrested and was cooperating with the FBI. In it, Sabu makes it obvious that he's a child who postures at "social engineering," which he clearly fails at given how badly he bungles the pretense of not being an informant. Any real hacking is probably beyond his capabilities, honestly.

Which is why this is really not what it seems. I don't like Sabu, and he's done stuff that probably deserves time in jail; but the FBI is flatly lying when they call this fellow an expert hacker or something like that. That's not even counting all the other stuff the FBI is probably lying about here, too. It's a sad case, but only in the way it's somewhat unsavory to watch an international crime syndicate like the FBI exert its power.
posted by koeselitz at 2:40 PM on March 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


but the FBI is flatly lying when they call this fellow an expert hacker or something like that.

He has seen himself portrayed as a "dark side" hacker intent on toppling civilization; a criminal who as a teenager penetrated computers at NORAD, inspiring the hit flick War Games; a phone phreaker who, just by whistling three tones into a telephone receiver, could launch World War III; and a computer hacker who, merely armed with a computer sans modem, could wreak cyberhavoc from his jail cell.

3 tones. WWIII.
posted by rough ashlar at 2:46 PM on March 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


Sabu isn't really fit to lick the bottom of Kevin Mitnick's shoes where hacking is concerned, and moreover Kevin Mitnick is a much more honorable person in general, but it does kind of bug me that every time the FBI talks about hackers they take this dark, menacing, "these genius kids are going to blow up the world with the press of a button!" rhetoric.
posted by koeselitz at 2:51 PM on March 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


I mean, the question now is what the hell the FBI were thinking. I have a feeling a lot of people at Stratfor are very, very angry at the FBI right now, and have more than a few questions about all this. It appears that Stratfor was hacked via an FBI laptop; that's more than a little disconcerting. Usually false flags try to aim at targets easily shrugged off; I'm not so sure Stratfor is such a target.
posted by koeselitz at 3:20 PM on March 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Sabu isn't really fit to lick the bottom of Kevin Mitnick's shoes where hacking is concerned,

That may be true - but Steve, Kevin and Craig were all subjected to claims that were ... errr .... not quite 'factual'.

I have no idea how skilled Sabu is. I'm rather sure that if the lips of a Government person moves the Supreme's say you should verify it.
posted by rough ashlar at 3:27 PM on March 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Isn't creating newsworthy crime the FBI's highest priority job now, koeselitz?
posted by jeffburdges at 3:39 PM on March 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


Am I the only person who laughed my ass off when I read this?

In July 2009 Mitnick's servers for his domains mitnicksecurity.com, mitsec.com, kevinmitnick.com and others were compromised under root privileges. This compromise was subject of the ZF05 (Zero For 0wned, 5) issue.[25]
posted by bukvich at 4:18 PM on March 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Ironmouth, I can't tell if you want to be Metafilter's conscience, or its security theater producer? Either way, you've got my vote!
posted by sneebler at 5:25 PM on March 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


The Discredited Ape: "So he's not unemployed, then, is he? It seems Fox is attempting to use 'unemployed' as a slur, rather than a factual descriptor."

I don't think he's was a regular government contractor "working" for the Feds. His work was snitching. The fact that he is unemployed is relevant. If he's unemployed, how does he support himself? Oh, right - by selling your credit card numbers to people on Facebook.
posted by falameufilho at 5:29 PM on March 6, 2012


lulzsec hacked Panda Security's website just now and says we shall overcome.
posted by stagewhisper at 5:35 PM on March 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


Who says they don't bust big time financial criminals too?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 5:38 PM on March 6, 2012


Yeah, I had to LOL at the "didn't go to college" bit. I thought you right-winger types HATED college. I seem to recall a recent complaint that "Obama is trying to force kids to go to college and be elitist -- what's wrong w/blue collar hard workin' 'merican jobs?" But now, magically, he's a stain on society because he "didn't go to college". COGDIS BABY!

All sarcasm aside, there's a perceived difference between "studying hard and learning a trade and making a good living" going to college and "smoking pot and reading philosophy and learning to hate america" going to college. Most conservatives I know have a lot of respect for the former and none for the latter, even if the only real difference between good and bad education turns out to be 'Whether someone is liberal when they graduate.'
posted by verb at 5:41 PM on March 6, 2012


Stakeout: how the FBI tracked and busted a Chicago Anon:

But Hammond's passion was social change. At a hacking meeetup profiled in the piece, Hammond tells his fellow hackers that he is driven by his hatred of social inequality. "Our civilization is facing a radical, imminent mass change," he said. "The alternative to the hierarchical power structure is based on mutual aid and group consensus. As hackers we can learn these systems, manipulate these systems, and shut down these systems if we need to."

Smart boy.
posted by scalefree at 5:51 PM on March 6, 2012


"SABU SNITCHED ON US
AS USUALLY HAPPENS FBI MENACED HIM TO TAKE HIS SONS AWAY"


That would make more sense.

"#DeathtoSnitches"

Yeah, people are not happy with him at all.
posted by jaduncan at 6:34 PM on March 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Ironmouth, I can't tell if you want to be Metafilter's conscience, or its security theater producer?

A simple guide:

If the target is a Democrat - what they are doing is OK
If the target is a Republican - what is being done is not OK.
posted by rough ashlar at 7:51 PM on March 6, 2012 [4 favorites]


Just read the Ars Technica piece on the arrest of Hammond. Based on that reading, seems to be a few ground rules anon should set for themselves:

A> Do not reveal anything personal about yourself online, not even with fellow anons or the people you think are your friends. This includes referring to your region of the country, any prior arrests, or alternate online aliases. Even a reference to your preferred laptop manufacturer or OS vendor is too much information.

B> Remember your friends will always betray you, given the chance. Trust no one with any shred of information which might point back to you.

Amazing how the need to communicate with others overwhelms someone's work to be anonymous and secure.
posted by honestcoyote at 8:31 PM on March 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


Amazing how the need to communicate with others overwhelms someone's work to be anonymous and secure.

They are Legion after all.
posted by rough ashlar at 10:23 PM on March 6, 2012


So reading the ars article... this bit made me chuckle a little:

On March 1, 2012, at approximately 5:03 PM CST, Hammond was seen leaving the Chicago Residence. Almost immediately after, CW-1 (in New York) contacted me to report that the defendant was off-line. Pen/Trap data also reflected that Tor network activity and Internet activity from the Chicago Residence stopped at approximately the same time.

I'm picturing Ferris Bueller taking off and setting up an AI chat agent so it appears that "Ferris" is still online while the actual subject goes out of the house...

And on further reflection by my sleep deprived brain, I realize this is kind of a non-workable "solution" (wifi scanning by actual feds kinda defeats the logic of it). Oh well...

Clearly, however, one thing to learn for anon/lulzsec and others of their kind - you do not talk about your shit online to anyone EVER. Never tell your hacker cohorts anything about your real life. Doesn't guarantee you won't get caught, but it seems it would have reduced the chances for this guy to have gotten busted, methinks.
posted by symbioid at 11:23 PM on March 6, 2012


Thinking about it a little more, dropping in a bit of disinformation here and there probably wouldn't hurt anything.

For example, if you have actually never been convicted of a drug-related crime, you could make remarks about how that six months in county for pot dealing was the only time you spent behind bars. Become an outspoken advocate of OS X when you are actually using OpenBSD. On a day when it's cold across most of the US, you could make some comment about the warm day outside, thus making the FBI or their informants assume you're a convicted drug felon and Apple fanatic somewhere in Miami or Los Angeles when your only criminal record consists of jaywalking and you're really freezing your ass off in Minneapolis sitting in front of a cheap laptop running an OS produced by some surly Canadian.
posted by honestcoyote at 11:50 PM on March 6, 2012 [4 favorites]


Why, the two of you are on your way to independent reinvention of loose lips sink ships and disinformation. ;)
posted by jaduncan at 1:54 AM on March 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


I think stop snitchin is wrong, morally. A killer destroys a life and people aren't supposed to go to the police? That is a deep moral wrong on every level.

Stop Snitchin' originated because a murderer kills a person, but for the people SS was aimed at, the police killed their communities.
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:00 AM on March 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


it's ok to snitch on internet people, though, because they arent people whose communities were killed by police
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 6:29 AM on March 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


"Everything incriminating has been burned": Anons fight panic after Sabu betrayal.
posted by ericb at 8:12 AM on March 7, 2012


He had been doxed a long time ago.

Doxed: how Sabu was outed by former Anons long before his arrest.
posted by ericb at 8:15 AM on March 7, 2012


This, of course, alludes to you: "it's ok to snitch on internet people, though, because they arent people whose communities were killed by police"

The police are working on it, however.
posted by symbioid at 8:46 AM on March 7, 2012


Also - that shirt from the pigs -- that "Keep Talkin" thing... That's fuckin' hilarious. Yeah, let's make a propaganda shirt that people wear. Made by the cops.

You wear that shit, you know you're marked. How fucking stupid are the cops? Or is this only for cops to wear? Cuz a kid in the ghetto would be caught dead wearing a shirt like that. Literally.
posted by symbioid at 8:48 AM on March 7, 2012


Aye jaduncan. There needs to be a series of propaganda posters involving lolcats, oversized lips, dox, party vans, sunken ships, and women wailing because their sailors/anons will never bring the lulz again, all because someone talked too much.

I know I'm stating the obvious with the loose lips/disinfo above. I'm just surprised people with the ability to perform these hacks and who are sophisticated enough to use things like Tor and truecrypt, would voluntarily give up useful information for no forseeable benefit beyond perceived friendship.
posted by honestcoyote at 9:47 AM on March 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Hmm. I sort of think that people who set up thousands of unsuspecting strangers for campaigns of bullying and humiliation and theft should keep on failing to protect themselves from investigation.

But I see many here have very colorful suggestions to the contrary and that's also very interesting!
posted by Anything at 10:29 AM on March 7, 2012


This is why I never tell anyone about the time I hacked the Illuminati Echelon cluster.

....shit.
posted by ymgve at 10:45 AM on March 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


If there was one community you'd think would know about social engineering...

Actually there's one thing which hasn't been highlighted in the press at all, which I think is either very good or very bad. Sabu leaked the Stratfor stuff to Wikileaks through an FBI computer. Presumably he also told them about the info, and the FBI let it go through to attempt to build a case against Wikileaks.

Secret indictment fodder, at least as an attempt, and dollars to donuts if Wikileaks people gave advice we'll hear about it as another count.
posted by jaduncan at 11:01 AM on March 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Here's an assortment of interesting meaty links relating to Sabu's unmasking and FBI informant timeline.
posted by stagewhisper at 11:29 AM on March 7, 2012


Hmm. I sort of think that people who set up thousands of unsuspecting strangers for campaigns of bullying and humiliation and theft should keep on failing to protect themselves from investigation.


Unsuspecting? Bullying?

I don't think those words mean what you think they mean.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 12:46 PM on March 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Also, if there was any confusion over if Stratfor wasn't connected, the gutting of their business as a sideshow by the FBI when people who actually mattered were playing should dispell any doubts.
posted by jaduncan at 1:33 PM on March 7, 2012


The thing about Stratfor is that they'd already been pegged as kind of inconsequential- talking a big game but not really having huge amounts of inside knowledge or brain power. I'd almost suspect that Stratfor was alerted ahead of time and scrubbed whatever they felt they needed to. The most humiliating things so far to come out of the dump (other than they were hacked in the first place, if they really were) are a smattering of personal emails expressing some rather un-PC positions. Which actually doesn't rule out them being alerted ahead of time, come to think of it. The people sharing those beliefs in email may well be unashamed to share them publicly, or they may have been tossed under the bus. Or, alternatively, the FBI really did think it was worth taking Stratfor down if it would lead to taking down Wikileaks eventually.

Also: I'm surprised it took them this long but Fox's resident shrinky diagnoses Sabu and discovers Hackers= Adolf Hitler.
posted by stagewhisper at 1:46 PM on March 7, 2012


Unsuspecting? Bullying?

I don't think those words mean what you think they mean.


I don't think you've followed LulzSec's projects or this thread closely enough to go all smug on me.
posted by Anything at 2:59 PM on March 7, 2012


I agree with you that LulzSec is in the wrong, Anything – I even agree that they're guilty of bullying of unsuspecting people, chief among them Stratfor, who did nothing wrong – but you were the one making spurious implications in the first place:

Anything: “Hmm. I sort of think that people who set up thousands of unsuspecting strangers for campaigns of bullying and humiliation and theft should keep on failing to protect themselves from investigation. But I see many here have very colorful suggestions to the contrary and that's also very interesting!”

There are no suggestions whatsoever in this thread that anybody wishes LulzSec hadn't gotten caught. You're reading people here uncharitably, I think.

We can have a technical conversation about what means people theoretically use to protect themselves without being on the side of the bad guys.
posted by koeselitz at 3:11 PM on March 7, 2012


– although, to be fair to ChurchHatesTucker, I don't think what LulzSec did in particular should be termed "bullying" necessarily. It's more like "vandalism" or "wanton destruction" or something. I guess there is a distant sense in which you might be able to call it bullying, but it seems like a different crime altogether to me; there wasn't any kind of systematic cornering of people and forcing them to accede to demands, for the simple reason that neither Anonymous nor LulzSec has ever been in a position to corner anybody – so they've just resorted to petty vandalism and harassment. None of those are good things, but bullying? I'm not really sure that applies here.
posted by koeselitz at 3:16 PM on March 7, 2012


There are no suggestions whatsoever in this thread that anybody wishes LulzSec hadn't gotten caught.

Not true.

You're reading people here uncharitably, I think.

Well, on the part of honestcoyote's comment, which I was most specifically replying to, you may be right, though that's not the vibe I get.

Not that this callout business is particularly constructive so I guess I'm done.
posted by Anything at 4:45 PM on March 7, 2012


As for bullying, in a situation like this one, I'd feel pretty cornered, if that's the criterion.
posted by Anything at 4:58 PM on March 7, 2012


Actually, having read that stuff again after while, screw particularly constructive. People who make excuses for that shit ought to be ashamed of themselves.
posted by Anything at 5:16 PM on March 7, 2012


Re: v+ / vanned. I liked the proposed v8d. It would be read 'vaded, as in invaded.
posted by whatzit at 4:17 AM on March 8, 2012


FBI feeds congress frightening sounding bullshit
posted by jeffburdges at 12:16 PM on March 8, 2012


ytcracker [previously] added this to the description of his #antisec video:
**UPDATE 2012.03.09**
i may indeed be the first rapper in history to endorse a suspected internet snitch. evidence is somewhat overwhelming for it to be simply a disinformation campaign, but, personally, i believe the truth is somewhere in the middle. i will discuss some of my thoughts on www.ytcracker.com.

i sadly will probably retire this song in its current form from my live performances just because i can't in good conscience rap about this until the grieving period has passed and this song becomes vintage and cute again.

kind of like jokes about the spanish inquisition being funny now but they weren't very funny in the years circa 1478-1834 (yes, i did wikipedia this).

we now return to your regularly scheduled video information.
... and then wrote these two lengthy blog posts on the subject:
posted by finite at 1:14 PM on March 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


ytcracker:
it has gotten to the point where gizmodo .au ran a story today discussing sabu being a bad neighbor, detailing sabu’s late night karaoke rap sessions (which we’ve all done, let’s be real) and erratic sleeping habits. this is hard hitting investigative reporting here, folks.
from the complaint:
For aproximately two years the neighbours in Apt 6F have been making excessive noise during the evening between the hours of 7 Pm until about 4 AM. They engaged in wrestling on the floor, pounding,rapping and screaming to loud music. not to mention chasing a pitbull around the apartment. Furthermore, there are two young girls in the apt who are awake late in the evening running back and forth around the apt. Thwere are numerous individuals who frequent the above mentioned apt. contributing to the level of noise. I have tried to reason with the primary tenant, Hector Monsegur, only to be told youre bugging….get the F..k out of here I am often wakened in the wee hours of the morning to the chaos, i tap on the ceiling with a broom for them to cease the nonsense only to have all parties involved stomp their feet simultaneously and laugh.
Which we've all done, let's be real?
posted by Anything at 9:28 PM on March 10, 2012


How's that for cornered, again, BTW, not being able to have any peace in your own home?
posted by Anything at 9:41 PM on March 10, 2012


I feel like I'm beating a dead horse here but I'd appreciate some acknowledgement from the admirers here that these people who supposedly are on some good side have had the habit of routinely abusing others who are not able to fight back. Even if you agree with the other things for which they have been fishing compliments, how can you trust them with any support given how they've treated all these people who've done nothing to deserve the abuse?

Pick some better heroes, please.
posted by Anything at 10:34 PM on March 10, 2012


I think everyone is pretty aware they are chaotic neutral at best as an organization and as vulnerable to being assholes as any other human being. I mean, the biggest symbol of Anonymous is the mask of a guy who tried to blow up Parliament.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 11:28 PM on March 10, 2012


Ain't happening. American law enforcement, especially the FBI, has prove themselves to be the bad guys increasingly often over the last decade or so, the war on drugs, war on brown people, war on independent press, war on protestors, etc.

There are heroes who mostly restrict their actions to social beneficial activities, like Gandhi, M.L.K., Martin Luther, Marie Colvin, Anna Politkovskaya and company, Daniel Ellsberg, Julian Assange and his leakers, firefighters, etc.

There is however a vastly larger group that we call heroes who really aren't so unambiguously such good people, and readily employ non-peaceful methods, this includes America's founding fathers, Napoleon Bonaparte, Che Guevara, most good cops, Yasser Arafat (not me personally, but many people), etc.

We label both groups heroes because what they oppose is so much worse than whatever damage they caused or didn't cause.  I'm happy naming lulzsec minus sabu as heroes in the same sense that I'm comfortable naming Francis Marion a hero, well lulzsec are saints compared to Marion.

There is a cultural problem with lulzsec that they represent the gang-like ego stroking stupidity that usually gets hackers caught. I've certainly enjoyed lulzsec's ego stoking and ytcracker's #antisec ode, but they were quite specifically lulzsec, not just anonymous.

Anonymous is imho a real organizational improvement because the word carries almost no sense of group identity, merely a shared rejection of unjust power. I'm hopeful that other socially conscious hackers might learn to better protect their identities from this episode.
posted by jeffburdges at 12:15 AM on March 11, 2012


'Whether such deeds were reprehensible, or even whether they happened, was always decided according to political predilection.'
posted by Anything at 12:25 AM on March 11, 2012


There is a cultural problem with lulzsec that they represent the gang-like ego stroking stupidity that usually gets hackers caught. I've certainly enjoyed lulzsec's ego stoking and ytcracker's #antisec ode, but they were quite specifically lulzsec, not just anonymous.

What's really weird is that you do mention that they have flaws but those have to do with them getting caught and none with the abuse suffered by the ordinary people they've victimized. Hence the link above.
posted by Anything at 12:37 AM on March 11, 2012


I'll grant that Orwell provides a lovely critiques of my assertion that Francis Marion, or even George Washington, were a heroes. I'm afraid it doesn't apply that well to lulzsec though because they did separate good and bad things, not so much bad-but-done-for-a-reason things.

We simply don't care about lulzsec posting random email accounts and passwords, that's mild tisk tisk bad. We care only slightly about the credit card fraud, clearly that costs society something, but afaik such fraud wasn't an organizational function, nor even who besides sabu engaged.

All the lulzsec targets that made my radar before this thread really objectively deserved much much worse than they got : Fox ✓  Sony ✓  FBI ✓  

In fact, am I correct that lulzsec's official sins were downing online games, outing the user base of the porn site pron.com, including some .gov and .mil logins, and being jerks to other hackers? Are we honestly expected to care?
posted by jeffburdges at 1:23 AM on March 11, 2012


There is a cultural problem with lulzsec that they represent the gang-like ego stroking stupidity that usually gets hackers caught.

Yeah, it's always kind of been a trope that hackers get caught because they can't help but brag. I always felt like Anonymous worked so well because it gave the hackers a collective identity to glorify and brag about that only worked if they weren't actually bragging about themselves.

As soon as I started seeing names like Topiary and Sabu talked about on Twitter it was clear they couldn't quite stick with that ideal.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 1:30 AM on March 11, 2012


The thing you seem stubbornly not to get, Anything, is that none of us are great "admirers" of dolts like Sabu who do illegal things and victimize innocents like the Stratfor people.

I actually know someone whose email and credit card details were leaked in the Stratfor incident. He's an anti-nuclear weapons activist who was active for many years here in New Mexico protesting against the fact that we have nuclear weapons testing right in our backyard, where it seems very likely to cause us damage, particularly when there are forest fires near Los Alamos, which happens about every seven years now. He used Stratfor for the same reason that lots of activists do: because it's a very good public clearing house of intelligence information and a source for information about nuclear weapons that is invaluable in educating the community around here.

So don't act like everybody here is secretly hinting at a love of Sabu when we express dismay that the FBI is crowing about their capture. The FBI is not worthy of admiration; you don't have to be an admirer of criminals to know that.
posted by koeselitz at 7:08 AM on March 11, 2012


I mean, Anything - will you at least admit that the FBI is a reprehensible organization that has done people great harm?
posted by koeselitz at 7:09 AM on March 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


We label both groups heroes because what they oppose is so much worse than whatever damage they caused or didn't cause. I'm happy naming lulzsec minus sabu as heroes in the same sense that I'm comfortable naming Francis Marion a hero, well lulzsec are saints compared to Marion.

Swamp Fox! Father of guerrilla warfare, fought in the Revolutionary War. My dad was a history buff & patriotic son of a Navy Captain. Every Fourth of July when the clan gathered at my grandparents' Colonial era inn & had a big bash, one of the highlights for us kids was putting on a pageant written & produced by my dad. One year it was the unsung story of the Swamp Fox & his men, how they harassed the British in the lowlands of South Carolina. Reading over his Wikipedia entry I don't think we'd have gone with that choice if we'd had that perspective on his life available to us. Another year it was Rosa Parks's refusal to sit in the back of the bus, reenacted using a lawnmower & some picnic benches representing the bus.
posted by scalefree at 8:43 AM on March 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


So don't act like everybody here is secretly hinting at a love of Sabu when we express dismay that the FBI is crowing about their capture. The FBI is not worthy of admiration; you don't have to be an admirer of criminals to know that.

I mean, Anything - will you at least admit that the FBI is a reprehensible organization that has done people great harm?


I didn't think that congratulating themselves about having made arrests is the problem with the FBI. If I was expressing sadness at news of FBI officials getting arrested for crimes they've committed I would better understand the point of that question.
posted by Anything at 9:00 AM on March 11, 2012


I mean, Anything - will you at least admit that the FBI is a reprehensible organization that has done people great harm?

There's what the FBI is supposed to be in principle & there's how it actually acts in practice. In principle it's the uniform enforcer of the rule of law that helps bind the states together into a single nation. In practice it falls far short of that goal, often doing more harm than help in the process. When it's good it's very good but when it's bad? Yeah, then it's very bad. Figuring out how to make it stop doing the bad stuff while keeping it effective at the things it does well is not a small problem, unfortunately.
posted by scalefree at 9:05 AM on March 11, 2012


I'm afraid the FBI has always been an almost completely political animal, scalefree. Hoover originally sent them after stolen cars because stolen cars turn up sooner or later. And today they train terrorists so they can catch them later for the newspapers.

Why do the ATF exist? Because the FBI turns down any job that sound hard. Why does the DEA exist? I'd imagine the ATF took a page from the FBI's book.

Afaik, almost all the FBI's useful activities could be better handled by a federal organization that provided laboratory support and prosecutorial coordination for state police. There might be some reason for keeping the ATF around if states won't police gun ownership that effects other states, but certainly the DEA could also be folded into state police forces.
posted by jeffburdges at 9:21 AM on March 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


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