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LulzSec leader's digital trail led rival hackers and possibly FBI to him

Lucian Constantin | March 7, 2012
The disclosure Tuesday by U.S. authorities that Sabu, the former leader of prominent hacker group LulzSec, is a 28-year-old man from New York City named Hector Xavier Monsegur, corresponds with much of the information released about him by rival hackers in the past.

LulzSec members left electronic fingerprints behind that made their arrest inevitable, said Rob Rachwald, director of security strategy at security firm Imperva. In one incident, a LulzSec member changed his online identity, but left clues about it on a public forum, he said.

There is very much a trail of history on hacker forums, just as there is on Facebook, and if you are loud enough through your actions, like LulzSec was, you will determine law enforcement to search for it, Rachwald said.

The security expert drew a parallel between Sabu's case and that of famous mobster John Gotti, whose similar defiance of law enforcement eventually led to his downfall.

It's somewhat curious that Sabu's accomplices didn't wonder why the hacker never got arrested despite so much information about him being exposed online, even if he did try to deny its accuracy.

It was in June of 2011, at about the same time as Sabu's arrest, that Eric Corley, publisher of quarterly hacker magazine 2600, told The Guardian that, in his opinion, one in four U.S. hackers had been turned into FBI informants. Hackers are susceptible to intimidation because of the harsh penalties involved and their inexperience with the law, he said at the time.

 

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