Hacker Monsegur aka Sabu In His "Own" Words
At his change of plea hearing (transcript here) Anonymous/LulzSec hacker Hector Monsegur, aka Sabu, was asked to explain in his own words what he did wrong. The Government said Sabu would read from a statement. I think Sabu's explanation of the fraud counts is interesting to anyone concerned about identity theft.
Credit Card Fraud:
With the use of my computer I obtained dozens of credit card numbers of other people from an online site which provided stolen credit card numbers. I also hacked into the computers of two companies. I used these credit card numbers without authorization to pay my own bills as well as gave them to others to make fraudulent purchases. More than $1,000 in charges resulted from the use of these stolen numbers over the course of a one-year period. I knew my conduct was illegal.
I obtained account information [checking account numbers and routing numbers] by gaining access to the computer systems of the financial institution. Among the information I obtained were the names, Social Security numbers, and addresses of accounts and account holders. I transmitted this information to others knowing that they would use this information to obtain money that they were not entitled to obtain, and I knew this conduct was illegal.
The Government interrupts to say he didn't really hack into the banking system. Sabu adds:
....I downloaded the PDFs of TurboTax returns that were publicly accessible over Google, and that's it. And due to the downloading of the PDFs, I had access to the bank account information, Social Security numbers, names, and all of that.
Aggravated Identity Theft:
When I transferred the identification information of real people to other people...I knew the information would be used to commit other felonies. And I knew my conduct was illegal.
I wonder what the FBI did to protect unsuspecting consumers as Sabu continued his activities after his arrest in a proactive capacity under its supervision. Could the FBI have prevented the attack on Stratfor or the subsequent release of passwords and credit card numbers? I hope it did more than tell Sabu to offer the hackers a server on which they could deposit the stolen data. Could they have been more concerned with trying to steer the material to their server so they could then make a case against Wikileaks for receiving and publishing it?
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