March 6, 2012
Five Top LulzSec Hackers Arrested, Former Leader Tips-Off FBI
In a shakedown reminiscent of a Hollywood spy drama, five leaders of the international hacker collective LulzSec were arrested Tuesday after the organization´s leader tipped off federal investigators.
The tightly coordinated transnational sting operation targeted cyber-criminals in England, Ireland and the US as part of a conspiracy case filed with a New York federal court.
According to Jana Winters of FoxNews.com, who broke the story, the former leader of the hacker group, Hector Xavier Monsegur, provided FBI officials with critical evidence on the activities and whereabouts of other members. Unbeknownst to his colleagues, the international hacker — known to his cyber peers as ℠Sabu´ — had been collaborating with the US government agency for at least three months. The exact terms and conditions of Monsegur´s cooperation have not yet been revealed.
An unnamed FBI investigator told Winters that the arrests would prove “devastating” to the hacker organization, adding that it was tantamount to “chopping off the head of LulzSec.”
In the last nine months LulzSec has increasingly found itself in the international spotlight thanks to a number of high-profile hack-attacks on large corporations such as Sony, Fox News and the American Public Broadcast System (PBS).
Even more irksome for various intelligence agencies, however, has been LulzSec´s repeated exposure of security gaps in various government data systems and websites, including England´s National Health Organization, several organizations affiliated with the FBI, senate.gov of the US Senate, and the now infamous shut-down of the CIA´s public website.
LulzSec, an abbreviation of Lulz Security, merged with the larger hacker group Anonymous last year and managed to garner particular ire from the CIA and FBI last year after openly encouraging hackers around the world to “open fire on any government or agency that crosses their path.”
Former LulzSec leader Hector Monsegur was arrested last year and eventually pled guilty to some dozen hacking-related charges last August. Though no details have as yet been released, it is assumed that Monsegur´s assistance to the FBI in locating his former colleagues will earn him lenience from federal judges when it comes time for sentencing.
Monsegur´s cooperation led to the arrest of London-based hackers Ryan Ackroyd (alias “Kayla and Jake Davis (alias “Topiary”) as well as Darren Martyn (alias “pwnsauce”) and Donncha O´Cearrbhail (alias “palladium”) of Ireland, and Jeremy Hammond (alias “Anarchaos”) of Chicago, Illinois.
Officials are expected to release more information regarding the arrests and pending charges later in the day.
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