Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Lulz Leader 'Sabu' Snagged

An End to the Lulz?

If you follow information security stories in the news, by now you may have heard that high profile hacker Hector Xavier Monsegur (known as Sabu), alleged leader of LulzSec, was captured by the FBI. The capture actually took place secretly last June at about the time LulzSec was at the height of their notoriety, and appeared in these pages on June 15, June 24 and June 29. Monsegur went on to cooperate with the FBI, possibly providing a great deal of detail on activities and participants making up LulzSec, which was one of only a small number of very successful hacker/activist ("hacktivist") groups.

As I said last year, I think that what LulzSec seemed to do much better than other well-organized and successful hacking groups was to communicate their message well. They achieved a large Twitter following and fed quotable material to journalists and bloggers.  As a result, we got a sense for who they were and what they cared about.

LulzSec might be gone, but the even larger "Anonymous" group is still in operation (as far as we know) and rumor even has it that they plan a large attack on the Internet for March 31st. Impossible to say whether there's any truth to that rumor, but it has people thinking.

There will always be Black Hat groups focued on conventional crime for profit. But with the megaphone provided by social networks and other Internet communications media, will "hacktivism" play a bigger role in the future?

Leave a comment and let us know what you think.


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  1. Are you familiar with the "stand alone complex" phenomena? This is when disconnected individuals are infected by a meme and then act on that idea in an unintentionally coordinated manner resembling a conspiracy. It is accidental collectivism. These groups are formed by people all thinking along the same lines, simply by picking up some popular moniker or logo. Maybe a few of the group actually communicate, but the majority are disconnected. The meme itself is the only common tie.

    1. Interesting. How "accidental" is it, usually?

      Isn't it often the case that the popular moniker, logo, idea are intentionally put forward by someone? I'm thinking of the talking points idea that tries to get lots of people to accept an idea just because they've heard lots of people say it.

    2. Not accidental at all. Someone co-opts 4chan Internet humor and inspires masses to similar or supporting action. It's genius, really. I think we will be seeing much more of this kind of virtual swarming in the future.