Sabu, one of the most vocal ‘leaders’ of the supposedly leaderless Lulzsec/Anonymous, has allegedly been arrested by the FBI, according to a Fox News report. (It’s interesting to note that Fox got the exclusive, considering they’re so prominently mentioned in both the FBI’s press release and Sabu’s court documents regarding a hack perpetrated by Sabu and the Internet Feds.)
It’s yet to be seen if the man charged, Hector Xavier Monsegur, is indeed Sabu, or if Sabu was ever even one guy. But if the FBI is right — and they sure as hell are confident they are — Sabu’s myth has truly come crashing down. Rather than some glorious Internet freedom fighter, Monsegur is an unemployed 28-year old father of two that apparently has been working for government agencies for months. In other words, if Monsegur was the man, Sabu, the man at the top of one of the most fiercely independent internet groups of all time, was a snitch.
Oddly enough, a few months ago I chatted with Sabu about his own fear that he’d be doxed, a term that refers to another hacker finding his true identity and releasing into the Internet. Doxing, in the world of modern hacking, is more or less a guaranteed jail sentence, and while we chatted he railed against the prevalence of young Anonymous members getting doxed, which potentially includes Topiary, the 18-year old who was one of the more recent high-profile Anonymous members arrested. In light of Sabu’s apparent arrest, and cooperation with the government, I’ve reprinted a selection from my chat with him about identity, hacker vigilantes, and his fear of getting busted.
If the Fox News story is indeed true — there are a lot of people arguing that it’s hogwash — that means that when we talked, he’d already been arrested and was in the process of working out a deal with the FBI. More importantly, the FBI allegedly directed him to talk to the media to spread false info to mask his arrest, presumably so that he could continue gleaning information about Anonymous for authorities. So even as he was giving information to authorities that’s leading to a number of arrests today, he was telling me about how horrible it was to see young kids getting doxed and busted. Judge that move for yourself, but I’m not amused.
This piece originally ran July 22, 2011. Click through for the full post.
Sabu, the real, actual one, told me yesterday that he’s railing against hackers, like those that tried to dox him, who are hellbent on taking others down for selfish reasons.
Although white-hats like AnonTangoDown say that they are fighting against Anonymous’ attacks on government, which they consider treason, and supposed support of lesser-skilled (and thus more at-risk of arrest) teenagers in their campaigns, Sabu said he thinks most of them are doing it for their reputation.
“Others like @anontangodown do it [dox] for ego,” he wrote. “I cursed him out the other night and banned him from this network. so he fabricated those chat logs with “therealsabu” and released them. [Y]ou see how I talk here and on twitter, those logs have literally nothing to do with me except for the use of my nickname in it. [Y]ou have people like @nonynews who is blogger trying to play the role of a journalist who in one sentence denounce[s] doxing but in the next tweet congratulate[s] someone on a dox. These are all people who are fucking lost or bored with their lives.”
Furthermore, he was less concerned about the possibility of himself getting busted than the threat of innocent people being harassed over information released in any doxing attempt, referencing the names dropped in the latest release of files and the curious case of Hugo Carvalho, a Portguese man accused all over the Internet of being Sabu a week ago.
“[N]ow, it doesn’t essentially affect me per se, but it does affect those names and people who got dropped and it’s sad they post addresses, pics of kids and shit. I can guarantee you the feds already raided all of these people’s houses, even that guy in Portugal will probably get hit with a visit from some intelligence agency in his country. So, it’s just sickening.”
With Anonymous, LulzSec and both organization’s throngs of splinter groups all gaining notoriety every day, he said the rush to dox members has increased, especially considering the perceived fame potential of beating the cops to discovering big names. With so many people watching anyone affiliated with Anonymous, the release of individuals can have real, immediate legal ramifications.
“It is [increasing], and I’m going to work on getting my people at Anonymous not to do that shit. I mean, it’s fucking repulsive and dangerous. When will people stop doxing? Until some crazy fuck goes and kills one of the people on the dox? Then what? I mean, what is the end result from doxing someone? Making them fear reprisal?”
Asked if he thought Anonymous itself would have a real increase in targeted doxing attempts, he wrote “I can’t really say, but the only way to scare people is to show them they can be caught. So this is the only method of fear tactics these people can use against anyone, as well as Anonymous. At the end of the day we’re all anonymous. It’s just a movement based around activism, human rights and all that.”
Rather than blowing things up all over Twitter, if someone really thought they had him, he told me, they should just tell the authorities to deal with it. “My point: if you feel you know who I am, email the FBI or email Interpol. Otherwise shut the fuck up. I’m doing what I’m doing regardless.”
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