FBI Informant Sabu Tied to International Cyber Attacks


The New York Times reports that hacker Hector Xavier Monsegur, a.k.a. "Sabu," was responsible for coordinating hundreds of cyber attacks on foreign Web sites, including Web site belonging to the governments of Syria, Iran, Brazil and Pakistan, while he was working as an informant for the FBI.

The new information comes from heavily redacted documents from closed sessions of a federal court in New York.

"While the documents do not indicate whether the FBI directly ordered the attacks, they suggest that the government may have used hackers to gather intelligence overseas even as investigators were trying to dismantle hacking groups like Anonymous and send computer activists away for lengthy prison terms," writes the New York Times' Mark Mazzetti.

Jeremy Hammond, who was sentenced in November 2013 to 10 years in prison for his involvement in the December 2011 Stratfor hack, told the Times that Sabu had provided him with lists of foreign Web sites to attack.

According to a leaked document, those lists included "government Web sites in Iran, Nigeria, Pakistan, Turkey and Brazil and other government sites, like those of the Polish Embassy in Britain and the Ministry of Electricity in Iraq."

A Brazilian hacker using the online alias Havittaja has also published transcripts of online chats in which Sabu asked him to attack Brazilian government Web sites.

"It's not only hypocritical but troubling if indeed the FBI is loaning its sting operations out to other three-letter agencies," McGill University professor Gabriella Coleman told the Times.

In the meantime, Monsegur's own sentencing has been repeatedly postponed.