Following the revelation last week that LulzSec’s so-called leader Hector Xavier Monsegur (Sabu) had been working with the FBI for a number of months to turn in other top-ranking members of the hacking collective, Anonymous has moved to distance itself from the disgraced former member, calling the FBI arrest “a favor” and vowing to continue its campaign of hacking.
The activist group has come in for heavy criticism in the past for its raids on media and government websites but found itself further in the spotlight after it emerged the loosely associated member had been apprehended by the FBI last June and then worked with agents to not only identify but also apprehend his former colleagues.
In a pure display of grandstanding, Anonymous took to one of its ‘official’ Twitter accounts, telling its followers to “be evasive,” whilst laying down a warning to the authorities that seek to apprehend them:
Not rocket science. Really. Hacks will continue and so will the anger of the people. Arresting Sabu is not a win for the FBI it was a favor.
— AnonymousIRC (@AnonymousIRC) March 13, 2012
Anonymous says that it is not a hierarchical organization, meaning we are unable to ascertain whether the person tweeting from that account has much influence or not.
Last week, the FBI — with the help of police forces around the world — apprehended five top-ranking members of LulzSec, working on information reportedly provided by Sabu. The Bureau named the LulzSec members involved as Ryan Ackroyd (Kayla); Jake Davis (Topiary); Darren Martyn (Pwnsauce); Donncha O’Cearrbhail (Palladium) and Jeremy Hammond (Anarchos).
An FBI official said the arrest would be “devastating to the organization,” adding that they were “chopping off the head of LulzSec.”
Anonymous responded to reports of LulzSec arrests by attacking security firm Panda Security, posting e-mail addresses and passwords of its 114 employees and a message on Monsegur’s transformation from LulzSec hacker to FBI snitch:
#AntiSec is back once again knocking snitches doors cause traison is something we dont forgive
Sabu snitched on us
As usually happens FBI menaced him to take his sons away
We understand, but we were your family too (remember what you liked to say?)
It’s sad and we cant imagine how it feels having to look at the mirror each morning and see there the guy who shopped their friends to Police.
Whilst Anonymous and LulzSec operated independently of each other for the most part, the two groups joined forces for ‘Operation Anti-Security’ or AntiSec in June 2011 (around the time of Sabu’s arrest), which resulted in a number of high-profile hacks on government, private contractor and police websites — including the interception of a confidential phone call between the FBI and Scotland Yard.
Monsegur was also said to be the mouthpiece of Anonymous before LulzSec was formed.
Sci-Tech Today reports that Monsegur’s criminal past includes “gun possession, purchasing stolen jewelry and electronics, running up $15,000 on a former employer’s credit card and referring people seeking prescription pain pills to illegal drug suppliers,” crimes that he will be punished for following its compliance with the FBI. His agreement with the agency may also see him enter witness protection and assume a new identity, should he escape a a long jail sentence.
Today’s gesturing appears to be a move by Anonymous to distance itself from events past, boasting that “the Establishment will lose” and that “the anger of the people” will motivate it to continue its hacking campaigns.
With 280,000 followers on Twitter alone, Anonymous still garners an impressive amount of support. However, with identities revealed and confidence in its members well and truly smashed, some members may start believing it’s a matter of when, not if, their acts will catch up with them.