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Thread: New leak exposes how the FBI directed Anonymous’ hacks

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    New leak exposes how the FBI directed Anonymous’ hacks

    This seems rather important. FBI infiltrates and exercises much control of Anonymous group's hacking.

    I still personally think Anonymous did much good work, especially when the target is a small USA domestic entity or individual. As far as hacking of other countries and their governments and leaders, Anonymous hackers were exploited and controlled for truly nefarious purposes.

    For those of us who are seeking truth on a plethora of pressing issues, it seems we can learn some very wise and effective strategies from Anonymous, though I am not referring to hacking strategies per se, but rather to precautions and decision making and how to search for information and how to evaluate sources.

    ___________________________


    http://rt.com/usa/154652-leaked-sabu-hammond-docs/


    New leak exposes how the FBI directed Anonymous’ hacks
    Published time: April 24, 2014 21:27
    Edited time: April 25, 2014 00:31
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    Hector Xavier Monsegur

    Hector Xavier Monsegur
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    Stratforgate, War on Anonymous

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    Anonymous, Brazil, Court, Hacking, Internet, Iran, Law, Turkey, USA, WikiLeaks

    Dozens of pages of previously unreleased documents pertaining to the prosecution of hacktivist Jeremy Hammond have been released, further linking the United States government to a gamut of cyberattacks waged against foreign nations.

    Hammond, 29, made waves last November when he defied a US federal judge’s order and told a packed New York City courtroom on the day of his sentencing that the Federal Bureau of Investigation had relied on an undercover informant to direct members of the amorphous hacking collective Anonymous to target the websites of adversarial nations.

    The latest releases now lend credence to Hammond’s claims that the FBI guided Anonymous into conducting cyberattacks at their behest, regardless of the sheer illegality involved. The documents — a previously unpublished statement purported to be authored by Hammond and never-before-seen court files —now corroborate the role of the feds in these proxy cyberwars of sorts.

    Using the internet alias “Sabu,” the turncoat — Hector Xavier Monsegur of New York — supplied Hammond with lists of vulnerable targets that were then compromised, Hammond said in his courtroom testimony on Nov. 15. Data and details were pillaged and exploited, Hammond said, and then shared with the informant and, ergo, the FBI.

    “These intrusions, all of which were suggested by Sabu while cooperating with the FBI, affected thousands of domain names and consisted largely of foreign government websites, including those of Turkey, Brazil, Iran —,” Hammond managed to say before being silenced by US District Court Judge Loretta Preska. Moments later, Preska sentenced him to the maximum time behind bars allowable under a mutually agreed upon plea deal: 120 months.

    Jeremy Hammond.(AFP Photo)

    Jeremy Hammond.(AFP Photo)

    The hacktivist has managed to have his voice heard since, however, and on Wednesday this week the New York Times published an article focused on the FBI’s role with regards to spearheading hacks for Anonymous. Speaking from behind bars, Hammond told Times journalist Mark Mazzetti that “it was pretty much out of control in terms of targets we had access to” in the weeks after Anonymous compromised the computer system of Texas-based intelligence firm Stratfor in December 2011 and his arrest the following March.

    Nevertheless, “Sabu wasn’t getting his hands dirty,” Hammond told the Times.

    Mazzetti went on to acknowledge that an uncensored version of Hammond’s sentencing statement was published to the web concurrent with November’s hearing, and in it the hacker claimed to have been provided a list more than 2,000 internet domains to target by the FBI’s informant. That same document, though previously unverified, also contained the list of targeted countries that Hammond was ordered to refrain from saying at last year’s sentencing: “Brazil, Turkey, Syria, Puerto Rico, Colombia, Nigeria, Iran, Slovenia, Greece, Pakistan and others,” including “the Governor of Puerto Rico, the Internal Affairs Division of the Military Police of Brazil, the Official Website of the Crown Prince of Kuwait, the Tax Department of Turkey, the Iranian Academic Center for Education and Cultural Research, the Polish Embassy in the UK and the Ministry of Electricity of Iraq.”

    Hours after the Times article was published on Wednesday, a wild leak appeared that is alleged to contain several paragraphs from Hammond that he authored last year for an article but were edited ahead of publication. The style of the writing in the document uploaded to the Pastebin website is on par with that of Hammond’s, and a source close to the case who asked to remain anonymous confirmed the authenticity of the excerpt to RT early Thursday.

    "In view of NYT's reporting, we would like to add some additional context to this statement," the excerpts are prefaced.

    “Sabu is not the real issue,” Hammond reportedly wrote. “What is important is how the FBI used him, and how they may still be using other hacktivists to gather intelligence and illegally break into websites without oversight, accountability or reprisal.”

    “In my case, the FBI used Sabu to infiltrate and monitor hundreds of public and private hacker chatrooms where he was able to gain influence within Anonymous by claiming responsibility for hacks carried out by others, bragging to the media with hyperbolic quotes, accusing others of being sellouts and snitches and encouraging hacks into government and corporate websites,” it continued. “He enabled hackers and facilitated hacks by supplying several servers for storage of hacked emails and databases, cracking encrypted password lists, suggesting specific targets and offering step-by-step technical advice to people as they were breaking into systems. Impressionable and less experiences hackers, eager to please a visible Anonymous ‘leader’ would send him their half-finished vulnerability findings; Sabu would then pass this information along to skilled hackers to finish the job.”

    Practically at the same time that Hammond’s alleged statement surfaced on Thursday, the online digital library Cryptome.org published a 94-page collection of court documents that seem to further show the extent of the FBI’s role in coercing Anonymous with the help of their undercover informant. [Notice: Upon initial publishing of this article, RT became aware that these documents were made available by the court on the PACER website on April 16. However, they were not reported on until now]

    Included in that trove are letters to Judge Preska allegedly authorized by Hammond’s legal counsel, as well as dozens of pages of internet chat transcripts between web accounts purportedly registered to their client and the FBI’s informant. In one document, dated November 1, 2013, attorney Susan Kellman acknowledged that discovery in the case “further reveals that while cooperating with the government, Mr. Monsegur challenged Mr. Hammond to access many international government websites and servers.”

    “Over the course of numerous chat logs, Mr. Monsegur, presumably under government direction, repeatedly asked Mr. Hammond to provide passwords or root backdoor information to access these sites,” Kellman continued.

    “In some cases,” the attorney added, “…it appears as though the United States government was actively facilitating the hacking of foreign government websites.”

    Also within the leaked cache is one document, a “discovery timeline pertaining to hacks of foreign websites,” in which the defense outlined no fewer than 26 times in which Monsegur supplied Hammond with information about those targets or provided assistance between January 23, 2012 and February 15.

    Elsewhere, chat logs between the two hackers and sometimes other associates corroborated the defense’s claims. In one, for instance, Monsegur boasted that he helped other hackers “step by step into getting into the mail server” of a target. In another, he instructed Hammond to have other hackers “backdoor urls” of targeted sites, essentially providing unfettered access to anyone aware of the exploit — and, in this instance, the US government.

    In the previously unpublished statement attributed to Hammond that surfaced this week, he wrote that “Manipulating hackers to break into international websites to steal emails and databases is a previously undisclosed aspect of the wide-ranging cyber and surveillance operations being carried out by the NSA and other agencies.” Indeed, a review group assembled by President Barack Obama said in December that the National Security Agency and other government organization must refrain from stockpiling so-called “zero day” exploits that, when executed, allow attackers to take advantage of vulnerabilities that have yet to be acknowledged, let alone patched.

    “The single biggest problem in computational ethics right now is the perverse market incentives provided to software exploit developers,” Andrew Auernheimer, a formerly-convicted security hacker who was released from prison earlier this month, told RT on Thursday. Auernheimer, 28, was prosecuted by the federal government after disclosing a security flaw in the servers of AT&T’s computers that allowed him to access the email address of roughly 114,000 Apple iPad owners. He was found guilty by jury of computer fraud in late 2012, but last month his conviction was vacated by the Third Circuit Court of Appeals.

    Since his release, Auernheimer — who is not affiliated with Anonymous — has said he plans on starting a hedge fund in order to further support endeavors that will help publicize flaws discovered on the systems of publically-traded companies. As evidenced by the newly released Hammond documents, however, exploits are hard to get a hold of unless you’re a either a well-funded government willing to write a check to ethically-bankrupt security experts or, in this case, coaxing hackers into doing the dirty work for you.

    “The only way to make money is to sell them to government agencies and In-Q-Tel investments,” Auernheimer told journalist Andrew Blake for RT on Thursday, referring to the venture capital fund that was launched with the aid of Central Intelligence Agency backing.

    According to the just-surfaced statement from Hammond, the former Anonymous hacktivist believes it’s high time that those governments change ways as well.

    “The government hopes that my conviction will legitimize the abusive tactics and illegal objectives it sponsors,” he said, according to the document. “I took responsibility for my actions, now it is time for the government to answer for its own crimes.”

    When reached by phone on Thursday afternoon, a person at the law office that represented Hammond during his trial said his counsel would “absolutely not” verify the authenticity of the leaked documents. A protective order filed in May 2012 — and amended after the defense was provided with the discovery documents leaked this week — prohibits sharing of those files.

    Monsegur is next scheduled to be sentenced May 8 in New York, although his attorneys have requested and received adjournments no fewer than half-a-dozen times during the last two years. In each instance, Judge Preska agreed to postpone his sentencing on account of ongoing cooperation with federal investigators.
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    http://rt.com/usa/154652-leaked-sabu-hammond-docs/

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    Re: New leak exposes how the FBI directed Anonymous’ hacks

    The current Malheur Protest trials in Oregon have revealed much about the use of CHSs, confidential human sources by the FBI. Now it has been reported the FBI pays GEEKS to snoop around in computers for criminal activity

    https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20...activity.shtml

    The FBI Is Apparently Paying Geek Squad Members To Dig Around In Computers For Evidence Of Criminal Activity

    Law enforcement has a number of informants working for it and the companies that already pay their paychecks, like UPS, for example. It also has a number of government employees working for the TSA, keeping their eyes peeled for "suspicious" amounts of cash it can swoop in and seize.

    Unsurprisingly, the FBI also has a number of paid informants. Some of these informants apparently work at Best Buy -- Geek Squad by day, government informants by… well, also by day.

    According to court records, Geek Squad technician John "Trey" Westphal, an FBI informant, reported he accidentally located on Rettenmaier's computer an image of "a fully nude, white prepubescent female on her hands and knees on a bed, with a brown choker-type collar around her neck." Westphal notified his boss, Justin Meade, also an FBI informant, who alerted colleague Randall Ratliff, another FBI informant at Best Buy, as well as the FBI. Claiming the image met the definition of child pornography and was tied to a series of illicit pictures known as the "Jenny" shots, agent Tracey Riley seized the hard drive.

    Not necessarily a problem, considering companies performing computer/electronic device repair are legally required to report discovered child porn to law enforcement. The difference here is the paycheck. This Geek Squad member had been paid $500 for digging around in customers' computers and reporting his findings to the FBI. That changes the motivation from legal obligation to a chance to earn extra cash by digging around in files not essential to the repair work at hand.

    More of a problem is the FBI's tactics. While it possibly could have simply pointed to the legal obligation Best Buy has to report discovered child porn, it proactively destroyed this argument by apparently trying to cover up the origin of its investigation, as well as a couple of warrantless searches.

    Setting aside the issue of whether the search of Rettenmaier's computer constituted an illegal search by private individuals acting as government agents, the FBI undertook a series of dishonest measures in hopes of building a case, according to James D. Riddet, Rettenmaier's San Clemente-based defense attorney. Riddet says agents conducted two additional searches of the computer without obtaining necessary warrants, lied to trick a federal magistrate judge into authorizing a search warrant, then tried to cover up their misdeeds by initially hiding records.

    The "private search" issue is mentioned briefly in OC Weekly's report, but should be examined more closely. Private searches are acceptable, but the introduction of cash payments, as well as the FBI having an official liaison with Best Buy suggests the searches aren't really "private." Instead, the FBI appears to be using private searches to route around warrant requirements. That's not permissible and even the FBI's belief that going after the "worst of worst" isn't going to be enough to salvage these warrantless searches.

    As Andrew Fleischman points out at Fault Lines, the government's spin on the paid "private search" issue -- that it's "wild speculation" the Best Buy employee was acting as a paid informant when he discovered the child porn -- doesn't hold up if the situation is reversed. AUSA Anthony Brown's defensive statement is nothing more than the noise of a double standard being erected.

    Flipping the script for a minute, would an AUSA say it was “wild speculation” that a man was a drug dealer when phone records showed he regularly contacted a distributor, he was listed as a drug dealer in a special book of drug dealers, and he had received $500.00 for drugs? Sorry to break it to you, Mr. Brown, but once you start getting paid for something, it’s tough to argue you’re just doing it for the love of the game.

    In addition to these problems, the file discovered by the Best Buy tech was in unallocated space… something that points to almost nothing, legally-speaking.

    [I]n Rettenmaier's case, the alleged "Jenny" image was found on unallocated "trash" space, meaning it could only be retrieved by "carving" with costly, highly sophisticated forensics tools. In other words, it's arguable a computer's owner wouldn't know of its existence. (For example, malware can secretly implant files.) Worse for the FBI, a federal appellate court unequivocally declared in February 2011 (USA v. Andrew Flyer) that pictures found on unallocated space did not constitute knowing possession because it is impossible to determine when, why or who downloaded them.

    This important detail was apparently glossed over in the FBI's warrant application to search Rettenmaier's home and personal devices.

    In hopes of overcoming this obstacle, they performed a sleight-of-hand maneuver, according to Riddet. The agents simply didn't alert Judge Marc Goldman that the image in question had been buried in unallocated space and, thus, secured deceitful authorization for a February 2012 raid on Rettenmaier's Laguna Niguel residence.

    Courts have shown an often-excessive amount of empathy for the government's "outrageous" behavior when pursuing criminals. The fact that there's child porn involved budges the needle in the government's direction, but the obstacles the FBI has placed in its own way through its deceptive behavior may prevent it from salvaging this case.

    The case is already on very shaky ground, with the presiding judge questioning agents' "odd memory losses," noting several discrepancies between the FBI's reports and its testimony, and its "perplexing" opposition to turning over documents the defense has requested.

    In any event, it appears the FBI has a vast network of informants -- paid or otherwise -- working for both private companies and the federal government. Considering the FBI is already the beneficiary of legal reporting requirements, this move seems ill-advised. It jeopardizes the legitimacy of the evidence, even before the FBI engages in the sort of self-sabotaging acts it appears to have done here.

    Underneath it all is the perplexing and disturbing aversion to adhering to the Fourth Amendment we've seen time and time again from law enforcement agencies, both at local and federal levels. Anything that can be done to avoid seeking a warrant, and anything that creates an obfuscatory paper trail, is deployed to make sure the accused faces an even more uphill battle once they arrive in court.

    DRAIN THE SWAMP. Get rid of an army or unelected bureaucrats.
    Repeal the UNCONSTITUTIONAL Administrative Procedures Act!
    "That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the most Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness." July 4, 1776

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