Government websites in the UK, Australia and more than two dozen other countries were provided by an undercover FBI informant to a hacker involved with the group Anonymous as cybertargets to attack, according to previously unpublished documents.
The files — chat logs between a turncoat and hacktivist Jeremy Hammond that were used by US attorneys to prosecuted the latter for major intrusions committed by Anonymous and an offshoot, AntiSec — are under seal by order of a United States District Court judge and weren’t publicly available until The Daily Dot used them to report on Wednesday this week to show that the informant encouraged Hammond to hit foreign government targets.
Before American authorities arrested Hammond at his Chicago apartment in March 2012, law enforcement officials gathered the evidence they used against him with the help of a former fellow hacker within the online collective, Hector “Sabu” Monsegur. A months-long investigation led by the FBI and largely made possible due to Monsegur’s cooperation led to Hammond, now 29, pleading guilty to a multitude of computer crimes last year and receiving a 10-year prison sentence in return.
Hammond said publicly that Monsegur provided him with foreign targets to strike while speaking in court last year before being dished out a decade-long sentence by District Court Judge Loretta Preska.
“I broke into numerous websites he supplied, uploaded the stolen email accounts and databases onto Sabu’s FBI server, and handed over passwords and backdoors that enabled Sabu and, by extension, his FBI handlers, to control these targets,” Hammond said. Preska, who later sentenced Monsegur to time served, cut off Hammond, but not before the hacktivist began to name a handful of countries he claimed were supplied by the informant.
A joint probe launched earlier this year by the Dot and Motherboard has already raised questions concerning the role of the Federal Bureau of Investigation in cyberattacks waged by Anonymous at the behest of the FBI against the websites of companies and countries alike, but this week’s revelations made through leaked chat logs between the informant and hacktivist identify for the first time the names of foreign nations that were specifically supplied to Hammond by the FBI mole with the intent that he attack them.
In full, the websites supplied to Hammond by Monsegur to target included URLs pertaining to organizations affiliated with the governments of: Brazil; Netherlands; Belgium; Slovenia; United Kingdom; Australia; Papua New Guinea; Republic of Maldives; Philippines; Laos; Libya; Turkey; Sudan; India; Nigeria; Puerto Rico; Greece; Paraguay; Saint Lucia; Malaysia; South Africa; Yemen; Iran; Iraq; Saudi Arabia; Trinidad and Tobago; Lebanon; Kuwait; Albania; Bosnia and Herzegovina and Argentina.