Just six months ago, the leader of one of the most infamous hacking collectives in the world was defending his independence.
The 28-year-old father of two had disappeared for a few months, and it was rumored he was working with the feds. He vehemently denied the accusation to Gawker’s Adrian Chen, who managed to get him on the phone in September. Sabu simply said, “that’s bullshit”. A very concise defense.
But the FBI revealed Tuesday that this leader, known as Sabu, had been working with them for “several months”. Information he had provided to the authorities led to the arrests of five members of his own hacking collective, LulzSec, a group that has claimed responsibility for attacking the likes of, among others, Sony, Fox, IBM, the Brazilian government, the CIA and the FBI.
Now, Sabu, otherwise known as Hector Monsegur, is facing a backlash from the community he once represented. Gawker posted photos of him, branded with the word “traitor” in all capitals. Hacking collective Anonymous, a group from which many LulzSec members came, hacked into Panda Security, an anti-virus firm, and posted the following open letter on their website:
“Yeah yeah, we know, Sabu snitched on us. As usually happens FBI menaced him to take his sons away. We understand, but we were your family too. (Remember what you liked to say?)… It’s sad and we can’t imagine how it feels having to look at the mirror each morning and see there the guy who shopped their friends to police.”
The threat of going to jail for several years on a plethora of charges and leaving his two kids behind was apparently too much for Hector/Sabu to bear.
Many have supported the efforts of LulzSec and Anonymous, as many see their efforts as humorous campaigns that expose the vulnerabilities of various companies and governments. More recently, the hacks have been often been of a political nature, working to expose corruption and express opposition to the War on Drugs, as well as to back whistleblower site WikiLeaks.
The hacks however have reportedly caused billions of dollars in damage to governments, banks and companies, though this figure has never really been explained. Of course it costs money and manpower to restore sites and fix system vulnerabilities, and pushing these governments and companies to do this is something for which many security professionals have applauded LulzSec.
It seems though, with the recent hack on Panda Security, that despite the arrest and detainment of five prominent LulzSec hackers and Sabu, the hacks won’t stop. One would suspect that the hacks might become more widespread or increase in severity, as a symbol of the collective’s continued strength.
The arrest of Sabu and the LulzSec hackers won’t make companies, governments and firms less vulnerable to attacks. If anything, for the next little while, Anonymous will look to prove its strength and independence from the “traitor” by hacking again. And again. And again.
And others will likely follow. Especially at a time where anti-government sentiment, in every corner of the world, is at an astonishing high.
Bradley Manning, KimDotcom, now Sabu. The authorities are getting who they want, but the all out spree is going to inspire others to pick up where these men left off. These emulators will likely work harder to make sure they cover their tracks, just to stick it to the feds.
UPDATE: Looks like I was right. Anonymous claiming responsibility for shutting down the Vatican’s website, CNN reports.