Caroline Cournoyer is GOVERNING's deputy web editor.E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
The computer hacker group Anonymous that’s compromised dozens of state and local government websites is no longer true to its name.
After one of its members secretly conspired with the FBI, five people have been arrested and charged with a number of cybercrimes, Politico reports.
Hector Xavier Monsegur, 28, began working with the FBI in August and pled guilty to 12 counts of computer hacking-related charges. He faces a maximum sentence of 124 years in prison. Monsegur, known as "Sabu" online, coordinated the cyberattacks from his home in New York with the five other members. The other members facing charges range from 19 to 29 years of age and are based in the United States, the United Kingdom and Ireland, according to an FBI statement.
Anonymous shut down and/or stole sensitive data from nearly 100 state and local government websites, most recently Newark, New Jersey’s. Last summer, it breached nearly 70 law enforcement websites -- the agencies most worried about leaking information. Some of the members are also part of 'LulzSec' and 'AntiSec' -- two groups formed by members of Anonymous.
“This is devastating to the organization,” an FBI official reportedly told Fox News. “We’re chopping off the head of LulzSec.”
Last week, Governing staffers attended the annual AFCEA Homeland Security Conference where the wireless connection had been disabled due to a possible threat from Anonymous.
The group has also hacked federal government agencies, including the FBI, and a number of private companies, including Sony Picture Entertainment and Fox Broadcasting Co.