Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Hacker helped block 300 cyber attacks

27 May 2014, 07:30

New York - A prolific computer hacker who infiltrated the servers of major corporations later switched sides and helped the US government disrupt hundreds of cyber attacks on Congress, Nasa and other sensitive targets, according to federal prosecutors.

New York prosecutors detailed the co-operation of Hector Xavier Monsegur for the first time in court papers while asking a judge to reward him with leniency at his sentencing on Tuesday.

They credited Monsegur with helping them cripple Anonymous, the notorious crew of hacktivists who stole confidential information, defaced websites and temporarily put some victims out of business.

Working around the clock with FBI agents at his side, Monsegur "provided, in real time, information about then-ongoing computer hacks and vulnerabilities in significant computer systems", prosecutors wrote.

The FBI estimates he helped detect at least 300 separate hacks, preventing millions of dollars in losses, they added.

After his arrest and guilty plea in 2011, Monsegur faced more than two decades behind bars. But because of his co-operation, the sentence could be two years or less.

Court papers say Monsegur first began hacking in a Manhattan apartment in the early 2000s. His aim then was to steal credit card information, then sell it or use it to pay his own bills.

In a 2011 interview with an online magazine, Monsegur said he decided to join forces with Anonymous because he was upset over the arrest of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

"I'm just doing what I know how to do, and that is counter abuse," he said.

Starting in early 2011 and using the alias Sabu, Monsegur led an Anonymous splinter group called Lulz Security, or LulzSec, which hacked computer systems of Fox television, Nintendo, PayPal and other businesses, stole private information and then bragged about it online.

The group was loosely affiliated with Jeremy Hammond, the FBI's most wanted cyber criminal whose stated objective was to cause mayhem with the attacks, prosecutors said.


When FBI agents showed up at his home in the summer of 2011, Monsegur immediately agreed to co-operate, giving the FBI a tutorial on the inner-workings and participants of LulzSec and Anonymous, prosecutors said.

Under their direction, he "convinced LulzSec members to provide him digital evidence of the hacking activities" and "asked seemingly innocuous questions that... could be used to pinpoint their exact locations and identities", court papers said.

Monsegur also engaged Hammond in online chats while Hammond was in Chicago, the papers said.

As a result, "physical surveillance teams deployed in Chicago, and an electronic surveillance unit in Washington", they said. Hammond was sentenced in 2013 to 10 years in prison.

Reports that Monsegur was co-operating made him a pariah in the Anonymous movement, prosecutors said. Hackers began posting personal information about him, and he was even approached on the street and threatened, they said.

The harassment "became severe enough that the FBI relocated Monsegur and certain of his family members", they said.

Monsegur's current whereabouts aren't publicly known. One of his attorneys declined to comment on Monday.

- AP


Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...