In early 2012, members of the hacking collective Anonymous carried out a sequence of cyber assaults on authorities and company web sites in Brazil. They did so underneath the route of a hacker who, unbeknownst to them, was sporting one other hat: serving to the Federal Bureau of Investigation perform considered one of its largest cybercrime investigations to date.
A yr after leaked information uncovered the National Security Agency’s efforts to spy on residents and firms in Brazil, beforehand unpublished chat logs obtained by Motherboard reveal that whereas underneath the FBI’s supervision, Hector Xavier Monsegur, extensively identified by his on-line persona, “Sabu,” facilitated assaults that affected Brazilian web sites.
The operation raises questions on how the FBI makes use of world web vulnerabilities throughout cybercrime investigations, the way it works with informants, and the way it shares data with different police and intelligence companies.
After his arrest in mid-2011, Monsegur continued to arrange cyber assaults whereas working for the FBI. According to paperwork and interviews, Monsegur handed targets and exploits to hackers to disrupt authorities and company servers in Brazil and several other different nations.
Details about his work as a federal informant have been stored largely secret, aired solely in closed-door hearings and in redacted paperwork that embrace chat logs between Monsegur and different hackers. The chat logs stay underneath seal due to a protecting order upheld in court docket, however in April, they and different court docket paperwork had been obtained by journalists at Motherboard and the Daily Dot.
On June seventh, 2011, simply hours after the FBI appeared at Monsegur’s doorstep in New York City’s Jacob Riis housing tasks, he shortly confessed to his crimes and had his battered laptop computer swapped out for a contemporary one supplied by investigators. As “Sabu,” he shortly resumed his communications with activists, journalists, and different hackers.
In a closed listening to on August fifth, 2011, authorities prosecutors famous that Monsegur labored “around the clock… at the direction of law enforcement” to provide information on “targets of national and international interests,” and “engaged his co-conspirators in on-line chats that had been essential to confirming their identities and whereabouts.”
“During this time the defendant has been closely monitored by the government,” stated prosecuting US legal professional James Pastore, in accordance to a transcript. “We have installed software on a computer that tracks his online activity. There is also video surveillance in the defendant’s residence.”