Former LulzSec leader, Hector Xavier Monsegur, now walks free after cooperating with authorities who claim to have thwarted hundreds of cyber attacks as a result of his help.
After repeated sentencing delays last year, the hacker, also known as “Sabu,” was sentenced to time served – or seven months – on Tuesday. He also received a year of supervised released.
Court documents filed last Friday commended Sabu for his help over the past three years. In the documents, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara asked that the courts grant Sabu a “substantial downward departure at sentencing,” given his “extraordinary cooperation” with police.
“On a daily basis throughout the summer of 2011, Monsegur provided, in real time, information about then-ongoing computer hacks and vulnerabilities in significant computer systems,” court documents said. “Through Monsegur's cooperation, the FBI was able to thwart or mitigate at least 300 separate hacks. The amount of loss prevented by Monsegur's actions is difficult to fully quantify, but even a conservative estimate would yield a loss prevention figure in the millions of dollars.”
Prior to his arrest in early June 2012, Sabu was deemed one of the “core” members of the LulzSec group, an offshoot of hacktivist collective Anonymous, authorities said.
In August of that year, he pleaded guilty to 12 hacking charges, including his part in attacks on HBGary, Sony Pictures, Fox, InfraGard and PBS, in addition to government systems in Algeria, Yemen and Tunisia.
Monsegur once faced up to 124-1/2 years in prison for his crimes, though it was suspected he'd receive far less time for cutting a deal with police.
In March 2012, a federal complaint revealed that Monsegur's statements helped law enforcement charge five others in connection with major hacks, including Jeremy Hammond, who was sentenced to 10 years in prison last November at the age of 28.
Hammond pleaded guilty last May to exposing millions of emails by way of hacking intelligence firm Stratfor in December 2011. The infamous hack of Austin, Texas-based Stratfor, not only exposed emails, but also included the theft of 60,000 credit card numbers from clients, which hackers purportedly used to make $700,000 worth of donations to charities.