Hacker-turned-informant released from prison


Former hacker Hector Xavier Monsegur was released by a federal court in New York on Tuesday after using his skills to help the government stop hundreds of cyber attacks.

Monsegur, who was known by the online alias “Sabu,” pleaded guilty to hacking major companies like Paypal, eBay and MasterCard back in 2011, but quickly turned his attention towards helping authorities.


U.S. District Judge Loretta Preska sentenced him to time served on Tuesday, along with one year of supervised release. He had faced a possible sentence of more than 26 years in prison.
In documents filed with the court last week, the government called Monsegur “an extremely valuable and productive cooperator.”

“Working sometimes literally around the clock, at the direction of law enforcement, Monsegur engaged his co-conspirators in online chats that were critical to confirming their identities and whereabouts,” U.S. attorney Preet Bharara wrote.

“The evidence he enabled the Government to obtain was extremely valuable, and the Government could not otherwise have obtained it without his assistance.”

The hacker was a founder of the Lulz Security or LulzSec hacker group, which he formed along with give other members of the international Anonymous online activist network. 

After being caught in mid-2011, he worked with the FBI to track down online criminals associated with the hacker network and put them behind bars. According to the court memo, those efforts disrupted at least 300 separate attacks and likely saved millions of dollars.