An Anonymous Guy Fawkes mask

Sabu, Anonymous hacker & FBI Informant, sentenced in court today,

Back in the summer of 2011, a spinoff of Anonymous, LulzSec, was all the rage on the internets. After a brazen hack and massive release of emails from government cyber security contractor HBGary, the little group of six members began a plan for hacking government intelligence contractor Stratfor. A trove of intelligence documents were leaked and published online via Wikileaks.

Problem is, the ringleader of LulzSec, Hector Xavier Monsegur, aka “Sabu”, had been arrested and recruited as an informant for the FBI the previous May. The FBI claims that Sabu helped prevent 300 computer hacks including attacks against US Armed Forces, Congress, NASA, a television station, an electronics conglomerate and a video game company. The FBI also claims Sabu helped identify vulnerabilities in essential infrastructure systems like the electrical grid and utilities to prevent hacks.

Even so, the FBI found Sabu most helpful for another reason.

The documents that were filed in a New York court last week state that Mr Monsegur’s most substantial assistance came from his ‘co-operation against significant cybercriminals’ affiliated with Anonymous, LulzSec and Internet Feds – another hacking group.

Because of his help the FBI say they were able to identify, prosecute and convict the ‘number one cybercriminal target in the world’ at the time — Jeremy Hammond.

Activist Jeremy Hammond is more valuable to the FBI than securing vulnerabilities to public water and electricity. Okay then.

But nevermind that. What’s more interesting is why the FBI allowed its tool Sabu and LulzSec to hack Stratfor and release embarrassing intelligence documents through Wikileaks. What might the motivation be for the US Government?

Sabu is expected to be sentenced today.

Off Topic is always welcome and lurkers are encouraged to chat. See you in the comments.

Update: Sabu was sentenced to time served.

Photo by Ben Fredericson released under a Creative Commons license.