By November 16, 2013 0 Comments Read More →

Anonymous Hacker Sentenced to 10 Years Says FBI Manipulated Him Into Hacking Foreign Governments

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Anonymous hacker Jeremy Hammond recently received a 10-year prison sentence. “My days of hacking are done.”

“I knew when I started out with Anonymous that being put in jail and having a lengthy sentence was a possibility,” Hammond said.

He further commented that the sentence was excessive by any reasonable person’s standards, it was a “vengeful, spiteful act” intended to send a message to others rather than to fit a punishment to his crime of politically-motivated hacking.

Hammond was sentenced on Friday at federal court in Manhattan after he pleaded guilty to one count under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA). This plea stemmed from his 2011 hacking of Strategic Forecasting, Inc, known as Stratfor.

Hammond said that the prosecutors “have made it clear they are trying to send a message to others who come after me. A lot of it is because they got slapped around, they were embarrassed by Anonymous and they feel that they need to save face.”

Hammond also believes that the FBI “manipulated” him into to carrying out hacking attacks on no less than “dozens” of foreign government websites. He was often directed to carry out such hacks of foreign governments by a individual known pseudonomously as “Sabu”, associated with the hacking group Lulzsec which claimed the Anonymous name. Sabu was later shown to be an FBI informant named Xavier Monsegur.

Sabu went so far as presenting Hammond with a list of targets, often foreign government sites, and Hammond now believes that this was all under FBI direction.

“It is kind of funny that here they are sentencing me for hacking Stratfor, but at the same time as I was doing that an FBI informant was suggesting to me foreign targets to hit. So you have to wonder how much they really care about protecting the security of websites.”

Why would the U.S. government be interested in him? Hammond explains that he had access to advanced hacking tools such as one that is known as PLESK. PLESK allowed him to break into systems used by many foreign governments. “The FBI and NSA are clearly able to do their own hacking of other countries. But when a new vulnerability emerges in internet security, sometimes hackers have access to tools that are ahead of them that can be very valuable.”

But as much as Hammond is telling, there is more that he is unable to comment on. He is currently under court orders restricting what he says.

Interestingly, the hack that got him busted, the release of the Stratfor data, Hammond insists was under the direction of Sabu, “I had never heard of Stratfor until Sabu brought in another hacker who told me about it. Practically, I would never have done the Stratfor hack without Sabu’s involvement.”

When Hammond found out that Sabu was an informant, he said “I felt betrayed, obviously. Though I knew these things happen. What surprised me was that Sabu was involved in so much strategic targeting, in actually identifying targets. He gave me the information on targets.”

Hammond knew prison was a real possibility, given the illegality of his actions. “I knew when I started out with Anonymous that being put in jail and having a lengthy sentence was a possibility. Given the nature of the targets I was going after I knew I would upset a lot of powerful people.”

(Article by Isa Abu Jamal; image via ABC)

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