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LulzSec hacker faces 30 years to life

Taylor Armerding | Nov. 28, 2012
Jeremy Hammond is denied bail, placed on terrorist watch list

Jeremy Hammond is in really big trouble. Or, perhaps, the government is just trying to "scare the (expletive) out of him," in the words of Kevin Mitnick, formerly known as the world's "most-wanted hacker" and now a security consultant.

Either way, a potential sentence of 30 years to life for alleged hacking crimes is probably enough to get the attention of most 27-year-olds. And that is what U.S. District Judge Loretta Preska told Hammond last week that he could face if he is convicted on all counts.

Hammond, much better known in the world of hactivism by various online aliases including "Anarchaos," "sup_g," "burn," "yohoho," "POW," "tylerknowsthis," and "crediblethreat," has been held without bail since his arrest in March on charges connected with last year's hacking of Strategic Forecasting, or Stratfor, an Austin, Texas-based international intelligence broker, by AntiSec, an offshoot of LulzSec, which is in turn an offshoot of the hacktivist collective Anonymous.

The three-count federal indictment, brought in the Southern District of New York, charged him with conspiracy to commit computer hacking, computer hacking and conspiracy to commit access device fraud.

More specifically, the government alleges that starting last December, Hammond and others from AntiSec stole information from about 860,000 Stratfor subscribers, including emails, account information, and data from about 60,000 credit cards. The government alleges that he published some of that information online, and used some of the stolen credit card data to run up at least $700,000 in unauthorized charges.

He is also accused of giving about five million internal emails to WikiLeaks, which were published under the name The Global Intelligence Files.

Apparently unknown to Hammond, however, was that the then-leader of AntiSec, Hector Xavier Monsegur, a New York hacker known by the alias "Sabu," had been arrested the previous June and agreed to cooperate with the FBI. So, at least some of the Stratfor information Hammond uploaded was to a honey pot server maintained by the FBI.

At a hearing last week, Hammond was denied bail, based on Judge Preska's determination that he was both a danger to the community and a flight risk. He had also recently been added to the Terrorist Watch List, said Sue Crabtree, a member of the Jeremy Hammond Solidarity Network and a spectator at his bail hearing. Crabtree said Hammond didn't even have a passport.

The bail denial sparked another round of protest from Hammond's supporters. Anonymous published a message on Pastebin demanding that Preska recuse herself for conflict of interest. The group said her husband, Thomas J. Kavaler, was among Stratfor's clients, and therefore one of the alleged victims of the hack. Kavaler is a partner at Cahill Gordon & Reindel LLP in New York City.


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