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Former LulzSec Hacker Turned Informant Avoids Further Jail Time

Hector Xavier Monsegur arrives at court in New York for a sentencing hearing on Tuesday.
Seth Wenig
Hector Xavier Monsegur arrives at court in New York for a sentencing hearing on Tuesday.

Avoiding further jail time, Hector Xavier Monsegur — a hacktivist legend — walked out of a federal court house in Manhattan on Tuesday.

The AP reports that U.S. District Judge Loretta Preska said Monsegur's cooperation helped disrupt hundreds of cyber attacks and helped disrupt the hacker activist group Anonymous and essentially marked the end of LulzSec.

As we reported back in 2012, Monsegur, who is also known as "Sabu," pleaded guilty to carrying out cyber attacks against companies such as Paypal, eBay and MasterCard.

His arrest — and subsequent revelation that he had become a government informant — was a punch in the gut to LulzSec and Anonymous, because Monsegur was seen a kind of "hacker demigod" in that world.

Today, because of his cooperation with investigators, Preska sentenced him to time served plus one year supervised release. Daniel Stuckey, a reporter for Motherboard, posted video of Monsegur walking free, while smoking a cigarette.

Anonymous, as you might imagine, was not very happy today. On one of their Twitter feeds, they called for the release of Jeremy Hammond, a powerful cybercriminal the FBI caught through Sabu. They called Sabu a "snitch" and many other things we could not repeat in this space.

But here, in the form of a retweet from @YourAnonNews, is a the main argument in the hacktivist space:

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.

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