A prominent member of the amorphous hacktivist collective Anonymous was reportedly turned informant by the FBI, leading to the arrest of five hackers in three countries. Prosecutors announced charges Tuesday against the men, spread across Britain, Ireland, and Chicago, and alleged that they have been engaged in efforts to steal information from the computer systems of U.S. companies, and hack government websites. The officials alleged that the five were involved in the recent hacking of Stratfor, a Texas-based intelligence company that had documents leaked on the Internet after WikiLeaks got a hold of them. The FBI was led to the five men by an informer, Hector Xavier Monsegur, a hacker who was arrested in June and began cooperating with law enforcement.
"Sabu (aka Hector Xavier Monsegur) was seen as a leader ... Now that Anonymous realizes he was a snitch and was working on his own for the Fed, they must be thinking: 'If we can't trust Sabu, who can we trust?' " said Mikko Hypponen, chief research officer at Finnish computer security company F-Secure.
"It's probably not going to be the end of Anonymous, but it's going to take a while for them to recover, especially from the paranoia," Hypponen said.
Anonops, which sends online messages on behalf of "Anonymous," sent a message on Twitter following the arrests. "#Anonymous Is an idea, not a group. There is no leader, there is no head. It will survive, before, during, and after this time," Anonops tweeted just after noon on Tuesday.
If any time to "recover" was needed, Anonymous may well have moved on as "Sabu's" role as an informant was revealed to the internet community last November, when this anonymous blog post came to light:
It’s been a few months now since the original release of this website and since then a lot of further information has come to light. Upon the public release of this information Sabu went to the ground for an entire month, beginning on the exact same day just hours later. His reappearance was not much of a surprise, as it has been a frequent public rumored (and secretly verified) that Sabu was identified, apprehended by the FBI and turned to an informant. Over the past several months, all of the original LulzSec member except Sabu himself have been arrested. Even though Sabu has been publicly doxed and completely owned on several occasions. You may be asking yourself, why is he still free? The answer is Intel. The longer he is “free” is the longer that the FBI and other LEAs can gather information on other hackers and move in for more arrests. Simple as that.
You can view the court documents on the case below.