Former LulzSec member Hector Xavier Monsegur, aka “Sabu”, has been released from custody with a one year probation to serve.
Named in court papers as “an extremely valuable and productive cooperator”, Monsegur was given the release after aiding the FBI in intelligence on hacking and in identifying his fellow LulzSec members.
In the group, “Sabu” served primarily as a “rooter,” analysing code for vulnerabilities which could then be exploited. Those hit included Sony Pictures, Fine Gael and HB Gary, as well as Government agencies, private companies and news media outlets in the summer of 2011.
However he was revealed in 2012 to have pled guilty on August 15th, 2011 in U.S. District Court to a 12-count information charging him with computer hacking conspiracies and other crimes. He initially faced a maximum sentence of 124 years and six months in prison.
However upon walking free, the court paper said: “Monsegur was a key participant in these Anonymous hacking crews, providing his technical expertise to aid in many of the hacking operations .”
Having spent seven months in prison after being released on a revised bail package on or about December 18th, 2012, Monsegur was reported to have provided “crucial, detailed information regarding computer intrusions committed by these groups, including how the attacks occurred, which members were involved, and how the computer systems were exploited once breached”.
This evidence contributed directly to the identification, prosecution and conviction of eight members of LulzSec, and he also engaged in additional, substantial proactive cooperation that enabled the FBI to prevent a substantial number of planned cyber attacks.
While the group was still operational, Monsegur convinced LulzSec members to provide him digital evidence of the hacking activities they claimed to have previously engaged in, such as logs regarding particular criminal hacks. Among these was Jake Davis, aka “Topiary”, who was among those arrested by authorities in the UK. He was sentenced to 24 months’ custody in a young offender institution.
The paper said: “On a daily basis throughout the summer of 2011,Monsegur provided, in real time, information about then-ongoing computer hacks and vulnerabilities in significant computer systems.
“Through Monsegur’s cooperation, the FBI was able to thwart or mitigate at least 300 separate hacks. The amount of loss prevented by Monsegur’s actions is difficult to fully quantify, but even a conservative estimate would yield a loss prevention figure in the millions of dollars.
“Moreover, Monsegur provided information about actual and purported vulnerabilities in critical infrastructure, allowing law enforcement tor respond appropriately.”
According to a tweet, Sabu told the court he had “learned a lot of lessons,” “came a long way” and did a lot of “soul searching”.
Davis, who has been active on Twitter for around a year since being released, said that his ruling would make him “the only person in the world legally banned from speaking to him” (Monsegur). Davis also said that he could envision arrested hackers in the future immediately saying to their lawyers “get me a deal like Sabu”.