Anonymous Hacker Gets 10 Years In Jail, Blames Informant Sabu

Anonymous Hacker Gets 10 Years in Jail, Blames Informant Sabu

Anonymous hacker Jeremy Hammond knew that he was going to serve serious time for his role in the 2011 hack of Stratfor Global Intelligence. But, holy crap, the judge threw the book at the guy! The 28-year-old Chicago native was just sentenced to 10 years in federal prison. For hacking.

Let's put that into perspective. Ten years is a very long time, more than a third of Hammond's entire life up to this point. That's nearly twice the amount of jail time that the infamous hacker Kevin Mitnick — who was the most-wanted computer criminal in the country at one point — served. As CNET's Declan McCullagh points out, it's also significantly more than the average prison time serves for murder, which is less than six years. All that time for a series of keystrokes.

Of course, hacking can be a very destructive act. Hackers can shut down power grids, send trains off their rails, and even bring the global financial systems to its knees. That's not what Hammond did, though. Hammond helped break into Stratfor's network and stole as much as 200 gigabytes of data, including email messages and credit card numbers. Some of that information was later released by WikiLeaks as the Global Intelligence Files, and the hackers reportedly used the credit cards to donate millions to charity, though that was never confirmed.

Hammond broke the law, and he pleaded guilty to one count under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA). Ten years is a pretty intense sentence, one that Hammond says is nothing but a "vengeful, spiteful act" designed to discourage more politically motivated hacking. In fact, he told The Guardian that would've happened if it hadn't been for Hector Xavier Monsegur (a.k.a. Sabu), who was working as an FBI informant at the time and gave Hammond the orders to do the hack.

"I had never heard of Stratfor until Sabu brought in another hacker who told me about it," Hammond told The Guardian a few hours before his sentencing. "Practically, I would never have done the Stratfor hack without Sabu's involvement." Asked how that made him feel, Hammond said, "I felt betrayed, obviously. Though I knew these things happen. What surprised me was that Sabu was involved in so much strategic targeting, in actually identifying targets. He gave me the information on targets."

The idea that the Stratfor hack was nothing but an FBI sting is not a new one. Not long after Sabu was arrested and then identified as an informant, the hacker community quickly came to the conclusion that some of the hacks he'd ordered were actually FBI operations, including some attacks on foreign governments. Sabu, meanwhile, has yet to be sentenced for the 12 hacking-related charges to which he's pleaded guilty.

It remains to be seen whether Hammond will become Anonymous's biggest scapegoat. But he sure will have plenty of time to think about it. [The Guardian]



    Don't you love a society where a poor person causing financial disruption to a large corporation gets ten years, while murderers get six years, and rich bankers who cause economic collapses get a bonus?

      That's just the dumbest thing I've ever heard.
      No single person EVER causes a system collapse.
      Bankers who break the law get punished as well, but to say that because somebody is 'poor' they should be treated more leniently is just idiotic.

      Whether you like it or not, hacking IS a crime. If it wasn't , there would be MASSIVE implications for the stability of the entire financial and business sector, with companies just hacking everyone in sight. You cannot claim that "hacktivists" fall under some special category just because you personally happen to agree with their values.
      Imagine if the system worked like that. Mob lynchings. Bombing banks. All violent crimes punished by death, just because some ignorant people thought that they deserved it.

      The modern justice system is based on the concept of moralising harm - as a deterrent, and as a punishment.
      Mass Murder is punished more than Murder, and Murder is punished more than attempted murder; because otherwise there is no incentive to stop.

      The entire "1%" argument is a total joke.
      In Australia, the average household wage is $50k a year (adjusted with median).

      If you make $50k a year, then you are in the top 1% of the entire worlds population. Source:

      If you disagree with capitalism then I am sure the Russia and China will happily take you in, and then send you to a labour camp for protesting against literally anything they do.

      Last edited 16/11/13 10:54 am


        You're delusional if you don't think the entire system is extremely broken.

        You honestly believe a hacker should get more time in jail than someone who murders (not manslaughter). I'm not saying a hacker shouldn't get 10 years, but six years for deciding to kill another person and then going through with it is a joke. If he had of plead guilty to murder he would of had his time reduced and had far less time in jail ahead of him.

        Do you also really believe that US bankers or car manufacturing executives who's actions lead their companies to bankruptcy, caused a recession, and put their government in huge amounts of debts deserved a bonus at the end of the day for doing a good job, "because that's how capitalism works"?

          First of all, the maximum sentence for murder is (in most duristictions) 25 years.
          Which IS entirely representative of the crime.

          The thing that you seem unable to grasp is that not all murderers are given the sane sentence, because not all murders are equal.

          We have this thing called "seperation of powers", you should look it up sometime; and judges are able to use their professional discretion to decide how harsh the sentencing should be, with regard to cooperation (saving millions of dollars of taxpayers money); prospect of reoffending (prison increases reoffending for violent criminals), and funnily enough, remorse.

          Most murderers do not in fact get 6 years, most get far higher than that.

          Yes, I do believe that exorbenant bonuses are a problem.

          Do I think that the answer is to destroy the company, steal credit card numbers
          (And money) because it is against my personal values?

          No, because I'm not retarded.

          If you want the system to change, then go out and win an election. Convince people to change by legal means.

          Regular people don't care about your bullshit hacker crap.

          Let alone your idiocy about the financial crisis.
          Go and get an economics degree, and then try to argue that.
          Because right now you are just spewing the same mus-informed bullshit that everyone like you does.

            since I have a masters in economics, I believe I am well qualified for this argument?
            actually, dknigs' argument about letting companies go bankrupt instead of having government bailouts is much closer to the fundamental views of liberal capitalism than the society today. taking money from 99% of the population to bail out the 1% who makes incredibly high risk bets (by government mandate) is socialism for the rich and capitalism for the poor (privatise profits and socialise losses in simple terms).
            while we are on the subject, do you have a degree in economics?

              You can believe it all you want, you are entirely missing the point.

              Surely they are not teaching you that if you personally disagree with a system of economic operation (or government) that it is morally acceptable to destroy said system?

              This is not an economic argument, it is a moral one - about whether any level of personal belief is considered legitimate enough to justify a criminal act.
              And the answer is no. Suicide bombs, mass shooting and hacking all fall within the same cognitive category: A group (or individual) believes that their personal set of values overrides another set of values.
              We call that a "delusion".

              And no, since you asked I do not have a degree in economics.
              I'm quite happy with my masters in psychology.

                when did I say anything about agreeing or disagreeing with anything the hacker did, are you capable of reading? my comment was directed at your comment about the modern economic system and I was just pointing out that dknigs was right and you are wrong. plus, don't you think it is funny that you are asking someone else to get a degree in economics and tried to convince the others that you know what you are talking about when you don't have one yourself?
                seriously, if you are going to play the educated card, make sure it is related to the topic? or else you are just going to get told off by someone else who knows their stuff (in this case, me).

                I agree with a lot of your points but actually it's not about "whether any level of personal belief is considered legitimate enough to justify a criminal act." It's about whether the criminal act in question justifies 10 years I a federal prison. And no, I'm not a judge and I'm not 'qualified' to make that decision. But seeing as you refer in a previous comment to "saving millions of dollars of taxpayers money", amongst other reasons for reducing jail terms for murderers, do you really think this is a reasonable sentence for this crime?

        Prison is for rehabilitation, not punishment.

        The system would work a lot better if more people, including the judge in this case, remembered that.

        Last edited 16/11/13 1:57 pm

        ahem, care to google HSBC Money Laundering Scandal, JP Morgan's recent fine and the number of banks who got put in jail for their roles in the GFC. the answer to the last question is none btw.

    He should have just king-hit someone

    For those that are whinging about comparison to murder, etc, it might behove you to actually take a look at what it is that Jeremy released into the wild. From Wikileaks:
    The emails show Stratfor’s web of informers..
    Informants in this space are not just low-risk rumour monkeys leaking info on the latest iPhone.
    So instead of just knee-jerk reactions of anti-establishment, pro-hacker commenting, check out the facts and wonder how many people on the ground lost their jobs and lives due to his actions.

Join the discussion!

Trending Stories Right Now