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LulzSec hacker ‘Sabu’ avoids more jail time after helping FBI track down 8 suspects

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By Bernard Vaughan and Nate Raymond

NEW YORK (Reuters) – A leading hacker who authorities say helped disrupt at least 300 cyber attacks after agreeing to become an FBI cooperator was sentenced to time served on Tuesday.

Authorities say Hector Xavier Monsegur, a onetime member of the cyber-activist hacking group Anonymous who under the name “Sabu” co-founded the offshoot LulzSec, had assisted in pursuing cases against eight other suspected hackers since 2011.

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Monsegur’s cooperation shocked the hacking community, but during his sentencing in a large ceremonial courtroom in New York filled with journalists and observers, U.S. District Judge Loretta Preska repeatedly saluted his help as extraordinary.

“That personal characteristic of turning on a dime and doing good and not evil is the most important factor in this sentence,” said Preska.

Monsegur had served about seven months in prison and the judge also sentenced him to a year of probation.

Monsegur, wearing a black shirt, khaki pants and wire-rim glasses, nodded affirmatively while Preska described his assistance to the government.

“I assure you, I’m not the same person you saw three years ago,” Monsegur told the judge. “I’m ready to move on.”

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According to a court filing by U.S. prosecutors, Monsegur, 30, and five other members of Anonymous formed LulzSec, which engaged in hacks on companies including Internet security firm HB Gary, News Corp’s Fox Television, Tribune Co and Sony Corp, as well as the website for the U.S. Senate.

After the FBI approached him at his home in June 2011, Monsegur agreed to cooperate with law enforcement.

Monsegur secretly pleaded guilty to charges including computer hacking in August 2011, a fact that did not become public until charges were announced against five other hackers connected with LulzSec in 2012.

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Among those charged was Jeremy Hammond, a Chicago resident who at the time was the FBI’s No.1 cyber criminal target.

Hammond, 29, was sentenced in November to 10 years in prison after pleading guilty to cyber attacks on various government agencies and businesses.

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U.S. prosecutors said in the court filing that Monsegur’s cooperation also led to the prosecution of Matthew Keys, a former deputy social media editor of Reuters.com. Keys has pleaded not guilty to charges that he aided members of Anonymous.

Monsegur also engaged in a “significant undercover operation” that exposed an unnamed subject’s role in an existing investigation soliciting cyber attacks on a foreign government, prosecutors said. No charges have resulted in the case.

The roughly 300 computer hacks Monsegur helped prevent included targets such as the U.S. Armed Forces, the U.S. Congress, the federal courts, and NASA, prosecutors said.

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He also provided information about vulnerabilities in critical infrastructure such as a city’s water utility and a foreign energy company.

While U.S. authorities praised Monsegur’s cooperation, they also said in the court filing that contrary to rumor, Monsegur was not involved in the prosecution of operators of Silk Road, an Internet black-market bazaar that accepted Bitcoin.

(Editing by Grant McCool)


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
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Nancy Pelosi roasts Mark Zuckerberg for ‘pandering’ to Trump and his ‘silly’ tantrums

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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday mocked Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg for his efforts to appease President Donald Trump's criticisms of major social media companies.

During a press conference, Pelosi said that Zuckerberg "just panders" to Trump in an effort to preserve his business model, which she described as a platform for people to "misrepresent facts" without consequence.

"They knew during the 2016 elections that the Russians were engaged in foul play," she said. "They knew, because they saw where the money was coming from!"

She then turned her attention to Trump's new executive order that will reportedly open up tech platforms to more lawsuits.

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Pennsylvania Dem unloads on GOPers who pushed to reopen as they hid colleague’s COVID-19 infection

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Pennsylvania state Rep. Brian Sims (D) lashed out at Republican lawmakers who remained silent after testing positive for COVID-19.

Democrats this week accused Republicans of withholding information after Rep. Andrew Lewis (R) tested positive for the virus.

"It's been a week, perhaps longer, that House Republican leadership knew that at least one of their members had tested positive for COVID-19," Sims explained in a Facebook post. "But they didn't go on quarantine until they were done serving alongside us, especially those of us that serve on the State Government Committee."

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‘Art of the Deal’ ghostwriter: ‘Psychopath’ Trump is ‘driven by an insatiable narcissistic hunger’ and an obsessive ‘need to dominate’

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President Ronald Reagan, in the 1980s, famously asserted that someone who agreed with him 70% of the time was a 70% ally and not a 30% enemy. But President Donald Trump, on the other hand, is furious if someone disagrees with him even on rare occasions. Author Tony Schwartz, who co-wrote or ghost-wrote Trump’s famous 1987 book, “The Art of the Deal,” analyzes Trump’s mentality in a May 28 article for Medium — stressing that the president is motivated, above all else, by a “need to dominate.”

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