UPDATE 1 19.13pm from RTE website
The FBI says O’Cearrbhail hacked into the personal e-mail account of a garda. With this information he then learned about how to access a conference call that the Garda, the FBI, and other law enforcement agencies.
The FBI then says accessed that call, recorded it and distributed it.
A man was arrested in Dublin in connection with the international operation.
“Working with international colleagues as part of ongoing investigations into computer hacking, a male was arrested this morning,” a spokesman for the gardaí said.
“He is currently detained in Terenure Garda Station”, said the spokesman, adding that the suspect could be held for questioning for 24 hours without charge.
There was a series of arrests across the US and several in Europe as the FBI rounded up 6 hackers and digital activist as part of a crackdown on the Anonymous offshoot Lulzsec. Several of the arrest are actually rearrests.
Those arrested included a 19 year old from Birr, Offaly Donncha O Cearrgbhail (Donncha Carroll) and another 25 year old Darren Martyn. Darren faces charges of two counts of computer hacking conspiracy, each count with a max of 10 years.
Donncha is charged with “one count of with one count of computer hacking conspiracy, for which he faces 10 years in prison. He is also charged in the complaint with one count of intentionally disclosing an unlawfully intercepted wire communication, for which he faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison” according to the FBI
The charge sheets as presented by the FBI presser – see bottom- actually mentions the Fine Gael website hack of January when according to the party details of 2,000 subscribers were stolen, according to RTE reports. Fine Gael themselves released a statement back them saying the site was “professionally hacked”. One assumes the use of the word “professionally” was less about having any evidence that people were paid to do it, and more about trotting out excuses given to them by US company ElectionMall that was actually running the site. Wouldn’t want to be seen to be cracked by amateurs eh? Donncha was arrested and released w/o charge last year relating to the FG hack.
So the charges facing both are pretty serious. 10 years in the nick is no laughing matter. But something struck me very quickly reading the charges. Donncha is being charged with “intentionally disclosing an unlawfully intercepted wire communication”. This relates to this hacked phone conversation between a rather easily amused FBI agent and two English cops at the Met. But heres the rub. I downloaded that same MP3 file and rendered it through a cracked version of Camstudio with a jpeg, and uploaded to my youtube account.
Its been watched/listened over 21,000 times. If that’s not “intentionally disclosing an unlawfully intercepted wire communication” I don’t know what is. So there is couple of options here. Either these charges are kinda meaningless in a age of the fluid and free flowing exchange of digital information, or I’m equally guilty of the charges as mentioned. What ever it mean, the extradition of this folks to the US needs to be resisted.
Other arrested include Hector Xavier Monsegur aka Sabu, who is being pinned as one of the core members of Lulzsec. His wrap sheet is also linked at the end of this article, but includes hacks going back as far as Paypal, but also the infamous HBGary hack which exposed a plan by private security firms to orchestrate political smearing campaign to discredit Wikileaks just after the release of the intercepted US embassy cables. I’ve written about here.
I have followed the evolving of movements within the Anonymous network since back late 2010 and about a year ago i wrote a rather longish piece about a more obvious political narrative linking the uprising in Tunisia with and uprising in Wisconsin.
Lulzsec and Antisec seemed very capital P political, but also quite brazen and media conscious. I wrote about an attack on Nato here which at the time seemed a much to be biting off and all about saying “we are here”. In that sense its clear that the game was as important as the action. You dont get to shit on Nato’s door and do so publicly and not expect to provoke a response.
So its safe the assume that the wider western intelligence community has eyes ears and trojans locked within the Anonymous community. The FBI themselves have said that the flipped Saba, and in doing so got exactly the response so far online. One of paranioa, recrimination and lots of variations of “I told you so”. Anyone who is familiar with the risk of undercover policing surveillance know this response. Its one that state/corporate security agencies try to provoke.
But its worth noting some useful points, most of are made already over at death and taxes so I’ll quote extensively
As reported by Fox News yesterday, LulzSec “mastermind” and Anonymous hacker Sabu (real name: Hector Xavier Monsegur) was flipped by the FBI. Big surprise. Give the FBI a cookie.
There has been a widespread belief that Sabu was a rat for quite some time within the hacking community—an August 2011 chat between Sabu and Virus, for instance. Virus quite prophetically wrote in that infamous chat: “I’m absolutely positive, you already got raided, and are setting your friends up and when they’re done draining you for information and arrests they’ll sentence you and it’ll make nose.”
Beyond that, in a community wherein anyone can have a voice, it stands to reason that subversive government influences are present, whether passively watching or actively suggesting. Disinformation, false flag operations, and immunity: these are the human intelligence gathering techniques that spy agencies use to infiltrate movements.
With that in mind, one of two possibilities exist: The FBI has transformed Anonymous into one monolithic false-flag operation, or agents take down hackers the way they take down other targets—with one or multiple informants. Judging the FBI’s efforts purely on the frequency of Anonymous’ activities throughout the last year, it’s probably safe to say that the FBI hasn’t accomplished the former.
If this conclusion is wildly off-base, and the former is true, then one has to entertain the following possibilities: the Stratfor hack was socially engineered by the FBI; Stratfor allowed it; and the FBI manipulated Anonymous into a partnership with WikiLeaks in the publication of the Global Intelligence Files. Then, of course, one must wonder if WikiLeaks itself is not a false-flag operation. This scenario seems rather unlikely, especially in a world where those who attempt to regulate the Internet are always one step behind.
Where then does this leave Anonymous and its supporters?
Again, judging from Anonymous’ efforts in the last year, which included a hybridization with Occupy Wall Street, the Stratfor hack, a partnership with WikiLeaks, an infiltration of the FBI and Scotland Yard’s conference call on Anonymous, Operation ANTI-ACTA (which struck the Polish government), and the CIAPC hack (following Elisa’s blockade of The Pirate Bay), amongst other projects; it would seem seem that Anonymous, as a global collective, has grown far beyond LulzSec and Sabu’s influence—that it has indeed shed Sabu’s influence.
Anonymous’ efforts are truly global now and ever-shifting. Unless people believe that stool pigeon Sabu’s opera singing is evidence of some international, multi-state false flag conspiracy to nab radical hackers, Anonymous likely won’t be slowing down anytime soon.
Here’s a suggestion to the FBI: Maybe you should spend a little less time pursuing Anonymous and put more effort into bringing to justice the white-collar criminals who crashed the economy in 2008, thereby pocketing billions and evaporating middle class savings, delaying retirement, and sending families into the grip of poverty; driving individuals to suicide, or illegal and prescription drug use to numb the pain; to theft, alcoholism, and welfare that the GOP hates so much; and saddling college graduates with hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt from which they won’t soon liberate themselves.
Yes, one can see how a DDoS attack launched against Sony Pictures would be a priority. The FBI does work for politicians after all, who are kept in office by the campaign donations of corporations