Just months after reports emerged that LulzSec "kingpin" turned FBI snitch Hector Xavier Monsegur had allegedly led cyber-attacks against foreign governments while under FBI control, a "cache of sealed court documents" has provided some more startling reading.
Monsegur – who prosecutors insist is "Sabu", a leading figure in hacktivist group Lulzsec – cut a deal with Feds that saw him receive a "time served" sentence of seven months and a one year supervision order back in May instead of the 20-plus years imprisonment that his numerous offences might have attracted without his co-operation in law enforcement investigations against other hackers.
Sabu operated as a "rooter" – someone who can gain root access to systems – in multiple attacks including assaults against HBGary, Fox Television and Nintendo.
Now the Daily Dot reports that Sabu helped forge an alliance between his group "AntiSec" and the politically motivated Turkish "Red Hack" hacking crew.
The news site says it got its hands on a "cache of sealed court documents", which it says show how Sabu recruited Jeremy Hammond, who was sent to jail over the Stratfor hack, to hack into foreign government websites from a list provided.
Monsegur, whose actions at the time were being overseen by the FBI, orchestrated these attacks. He was arrested by the Feds in June 2011 and turned, partially under pressure of what would happen to his two adopted children. He acted as as FBI asset in the investigation of other hackers for months afterwards until the arrest of his former LulzSec cohorts in March 2012.
"During an encrypted chat session on Jan. 25, 2012, less than two months before Hammond’s arrest, Monsegur instructed him to 'pop off' several dozen foreign government websites from a list that Monsegur provided," the Daily Dot claims. "Access to any hacked Turkish websites, Monsegur told Hammond, would be provided to the RedHack group," it alleged. RedHack was a group which had allegiances to AntiSec/LulzSec.
Monsegur reportedly used zero-day vulnerabilities in Plesk, a common web-publishing platform, to draw up a list of vulnerable targets. The Daily Dot alleges the court docs confirmed that these systems were rooted by Hammond, who passed over details of the pawnage to RedStar, a core member of RedHack’s team. "Some of the government domains Monsegur supplied access to were later defaced, and confidential emails belonging to Turkish officials were stolen," the report adds.
The New York Times previously reported how Monsegur worked with the FBI on cyber-attacks against governmental websites in Brazil, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan and Syria.
The latest revelations add Turkey to the list while filling in the blanks on how the process was run.
The revelations also renew questions about whether the FBI – or some other agency working with the former LulzSec co-founder – was using hackers to gather foreign intelligence. The FBI has consistently denied doing so. ®