For folks who may not be following this issue it is tied to the Wikileaks release known as the Global Intelligence files. They were part of a release from US security contractor known as Stratfor - Strategic Forcasting Inc. that was an Anonymous hack many believe orchestrated by FBI who were part of the operation led by Sabu, an Anonymous hactivist turned informant to plea bargain other charges against him.
On a cold day in mid-December 2011, a hacker known as "sup_g" sat alone at his computer – invisible, or so he believed. He'd been working on the target for hours, long after the rest of his crew had logged off: an epic hack, the "digital equivalent of a nuclear bomb," as it later would be described, on the servers of a Texas-based intelligence contractor called Strategic Forecasting Inc. Stratfor served as a sort of private CIA, monitoring developments in political hot spots around the world and supplying analysis to the U.S. security establishment.
A member of the online activist movement Anonymous, sup_g was part of a small team of politically motivated hackers who had breached Stratfor's main defenses earlier that month – ultimately "rooting," or gaining total access to, its main web servers. In them, they had found a cornucopia of treasure: passwords, unencrypted credit-card data and private client lists revealing Stratfor's deep ties to both big business and the U.S. intelligence and defense communities. But perhaps the most lucrative find of all was Stratfor's e-mail database: some 3 million private messages that exposed a wide array of nefarious and clandestine activities – from the U.S. government's monitoring of the Occupy movement to Stratfor's own role in compiling data on a variety of activist movements, including PETA, Wikileaks and even Anonymous itself.
And now, finally, it was done. Logging on to a secure Web chat, sup_g sent a message to a fellow activist. "We in business, baby," he said. "It's over with."
One of the most radical and committed hackers in the shadowy world of Anonymous – a leaderless, nonhierarchical federation of activists with varying agendas – sup_g kept a low profile within the group, carefully concealing his real name and maintaining a number of aliases. That June, he had joined a new faction within Anonymous known as Operation Antisec, or #Antisec, which described itself as a "popular front" against the "corrupt governments, corporations, militaries and law enforcement of the world." Though hundreds of activists may have frequented its internal communication channels, known as Internet relay chats, Antisec had less than a dozen core members: hackers, anarchists, free-speech activists and privacy crusaders, as well as "social engineers" – skilled manipulators whose talents lay in tricking even the most security-conscious into giving up their passwords or other data. The founder and most prominent member of Antisec was a bloviating, heavyset 29-year-old hacker, self-proclaimed revolutionary and social engineer known as "Sabu," who had a special loathing, it seemed, for the intelligence industry. "Let us show them we can spy on them too," he'd tweeted to his more than 35,000 followers in early December.
For three weeks, sup_g and his crew had worked steadily to ruin Stratfor, one of their biggest and richest targets yet. In addition to supplying geopolitical analysis to everyone from the Pentagon to the United Nations, the firm provided customized security services for leading companies like Raytheon and Dow Chemical, often compiling dossiers on activists and others viewed as threats to corporate profits. By Christmas – which Antisec dubbed "LulzXmas" for the "lulz," or mocking enjoyment, they intended to have at Stratfor's expense – the group had made off with more than 200 gigabytes of data. They then destroyed the company's databases and defaced Stratfor's website with a triumphant message promising a "week of mayhem" that would include posting the firm's secrets online – some 860,000 names, e-mails and passwords, including several dozen belonging to top-secret operators whose identities were now leaked for the very first time. Antisec also planned to use the hacked credit cards to make donations to groups like CARE and the American Red Cross. As an added flourish, the group ended its communiqué with the full text of the influential French anarchist tract The Coming Insurrection. "It's useless to wait . . . for the revolution," the treatise reads. "The catastrophe is not coming, it is here."
Three months later, on the evening of March 5th, 2012, more than a dozen federal law-enforcement officers broke down the door of a small brick house on the southwest side of Chicago and arrested Jeremy Hammond, a 27-year-old anarchist and computer hacker they believed to be sup_g. Six feet tall and lanky, dressed in a purple T-shirt and ratty trousers – a signature style one of his female friends noted was less Salvation Army than "the free box outside the Salvation Army" – Hammond looked more like a crusty punk than a computer nerd. In fact, he was both, as well as many other things: an inveterate "black hat" hacker, an irrepressible agitator and enemy of the "rich, ruling class" who identified with the ideas of the Weather Underground and considered the Occupy movement too tame.
Even before the arrest broadcast his name worldwide, Hammond was well-known in extreme-left circles. An early champion of "cyber-liberation," he had been described by Chicago magazine at the age of 22 as an "electronic Robin Hood" after he was sentenced to two years in federal prison for hacking a conservative website and making off with 5,000 credit-card numbers, intending to charge donations to progressive causes. But unique within the hacking subculture, Hammond was also a real-life revolutionary: a "modern-day Abbie Hoffman," in the words of his friend Matt Muchowski. He possessed a shrewd intelligence as well as a certain impulsivity – a fellow hacker referred to it as "urgency" – that had led to a long string of civil-disobedience arrests dating back 10 years, for offenses ranging from defacing a wall with anti-war slogans to banging a drum during a "noise demo" at the 2004 Republican National Convention in New York. (He later called his brief stint in the Tombs his "best prison experience.") Hammond was even busted once, in 2005, for trying to join a protest, against a group of white supremacists in Toledo, Ohio. "They hadn't even gotten out of the car when they were arrested," says Muchowski, a Chicago union organizer who bailed Hammond out.
His arrest, the most prominent bust to date of a U.S. hacktivist, was also a major coup for the FBI. Before Hammond was locked up, Anonymous had engaged in a year-and-a-half-long hacking spree, waging a full-scale war against the "rich and powerful oppressors." The group shut down the websites of the CIA, major banks and credit-card companies. They took up the cause of the Arab Spring by attacking the government websites of Libya, Tunisia and Egypt; they broke into computers belonging to NATO and the GEO Group, one of the world's largest private prison corporations. They hacked defense contractor Booz Allen Hamilton – an attack, dubbed "Military Meltdown Monday," that yielded 90,000 military and civilian e-mail accounts and passwords. They even attacked the FBI itself.