Renowned 'LulzSec' Hacker Could Walk Free

Brandon Dimmel's picture

The United States government has recommended the court trying world-renowned hacker Hector Xavier Monsegur -- better known as "Sabu" -- show leniency. It's a controversial recommendation that could see the hacker walk out of court a free man later this week.

Monsegur has been in custody since 2011. He was once was a part of international hacking group LulzSec, which carried out a series of cyber crimes against major corporations, such as Sony. The group has also waged hacking campaigns against the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the U.S. Senate, and Infragard, a security firm that works with the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Hacker Helps US Government Nab Other Cybercriminals

Monsegur played a key role in each of the cyber attacks. Eventually, the FBI learned of Monsegur's location and arrested him; they laid several charges, including hacking, credit card fraud, and identity theft. He later pleaded guilty to all three charges.

In the years that followed, Monsegur worked with the FBI to track down and arrest several other international hackers. In fact, the information Monsegur provided played a critical role in the arrest of Jeremy Hammond, a hacker who targeted global intelligence company Stratfor, otherwise known as Strategic Forecasting. Hammond is now serving a ten-year prison sentence.

Government Attorneys Recommend Sentence of Time Served

Now, it appears Monsegur will be rewarded for his cooperation. In a recent statement, U.S. government attorneys recommended a sentence of time served, citing Monsegur's "consistent and corroborated historical information, coupled with his substantial proactive cooperation." (Source:

According to the federal attorneys, without Monsegur's assistance -- including the provision of "detailed information regarding computer intrusions committed by [hacking groups]" -- it's possible Hammond and several other dangerous hackers would not have been found and arrested.

The federal attorneys' statement went on to suggest that Monsegur's assistance saved the U.S. government and major corporations "tens of millions of dollars" by preventing new hacking campaigns from being carried out. A Wall Street Journal story that reported that Monsegur had helped federal agents prevent 300 attacks planned by other hackers. (Source:

Had Monsegur not cooperated with the authorities, he could be facing a prison sentence of 21 to 26 years. Instead, US prosecutors are recommending a sentence of "time served" for Monsegur, which was 7 months starting in 2012. In other words, he would face no further jail time. (Source:

What's Your Opinion?

What do you think of hacking groups such as Anonymous and LulzSec? Do you think it's fair to release Hector Xavier "Sabu" Monsegur, given the importance of the information he provided to federal authorities? Or do you think it's wrong to drastically reduce the sentence of a major international hacker?

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alamoemu's picture

Time served and hire him and any of the others that he knows are hackers but would rather work on the other side of the fence.

Just as much fun but earning a legitimate salary and doing good.

tarza177_2334's picture

Any leniency should require his continued work with the government. Otherwise he goes back to jail.

matt_2058's picture

What's next? Giving time-served leniency to a serial killer because he knows a few others that he can turn in?

Anyways, nobody gets real time these days. Murderers might serve a few years, DUI manslaughter is about a year, if that. Crimes by high-level government employees aren't even prosecuted. And then there's politicians...

Stuart Berg's picture

Clearly he should be working undercover for the government. So maybe we will never know if he actually gets long term employment with them.

It reminds me of when I was in college studying electrical engineering (1960s). AT&T was the only long distance carrier and long distance phone calls were MUCH more expensive than today, even without figuring inflation in. One of my classmates developed (and used) an electronic box that allowed him to make free long distance calls. When he was caught, rather than go to jail he accepted a job offer with AT&T.