Former Anonymous LulzSec Hacker Hector 'Sabu' Xavier Monsegur Released: FBI Informant Stopped Over 300 Cyberattacks Against US Government
After providing the FBI with extraordinary cooperation and assistance, the LulzSec hacker known as "Sabu" has been released from his prison sentence. Known online as Sabu, Hector Xavier Monsegur pled guilty three years ago and agreed to provide assistance to the FBI in their efforts to counterattack cybercrimes. Monsegur did just that as the FBI, with his assistance, was able to prevent or at least disrupt more than 300 hacks against Congress, the U.S. military, and a number of private companies. His skills were used to prevent activities that he himself took part in prior to his conviction.
Assistant US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, James Pastore, said that Monsegur's actions prevented the loss of millions of dollars. This is a conservative estimate as it is difficult to fully quantify how much victims would have lost if their systems were successfully hacked into and how much the government would have had to spend to cover the damages. Monsegur also contributed in the identification, prosecution, and eventual conviction of his other eight major co-conspirators. This list includes Jeremy Hammond, who was the No. 1 cyber criminal target of the FBI when he was arrested back in 2012.
Monsegur was -- and possibly still is -- in a very complicated situation. After being a cybercriminal himself, he became an informant, and now is a victim as well. In the last three years, he and his family had to be relocated by the FBI after being threatened. Members of prominent hacking groups such as Anonymous have condemned Monsegur's actions and how the FBI utilized his abilities.
According to the Guardian, this opens windows for prominent hackers to become informants in order to receive a more lenient sentence in the case of a conviction. For Monsegur's case, his transformation was instantaneous -- from a legendary hacker legend turned informant. Despite his release, the government will continue to closely monitor him and his actions.
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