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LulzSec Member Pleads Not Guilty In Stratfor Leak Case 89

TheGift73 writes with an update on one of the many LulzSec court cases. From the article: "A former LulzSec member has pleaded not guilty to federal charges that he hacked into the servers of global intelligence company Stratfor and stole credit card data and personal details of 860,000 of its clients. Jeremy Hammond entered the plea on Monday during a brief hearing in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, the Associated Press reported. He's been held in federal custody since an initial court appearance in Chicago in early March, when federal prosecutors named him as a lieutenant of LulzSec ringleader Hector Xavier 'Sabu' Monsegur. There was no request for Hammond to be released on bail during Monday's hearing, according to the AP report."
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LulzSec Member Pleads Not Guilty In Stratfor Leak Case

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  • by Soporific ( 595477 ) on Monday May 14, 2012 @07:37PM (#40000795)

    I plead not guilty for the lulz your honor.


    • hey sabu, who's lulzing now?
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        You'll see! He's running custom firmware on his phone that puts him behind seven proxies! They'll never get him now!

  • Evidence... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by sortadan ( 786274 ) on Monday May 14, 2012 @07:44PM (#40000847)
    Since they arrested him they must have some good idea that its him, but it will be interesting to see what evidence they have, how it was collected, and how they can show it was only he who could have done the deed. With how easy it is to remotely control computers and especially if he had a wifi router, who's to say that his computer wasn't rooted and someone remotely did what he is accused of.
    • Re:Evidence... (Score:4, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 14, 2012 @08:02PM (#40000995)

      Who is to say? Anyone who has read the indictment could speak to that point. The feds have Mr. Hammond right where they want him and he doesn't want to be. They watched his apartment and correlated his presence there with the presence of "anarkaos" on IRC chatting with Sabu. Gosh, anarkaos left the chat right when Jeremy went to the store! His previous felony conviction for a similar crime is not going to help at sentencing, either.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by mSparks43 ( 757109 )

        It's shocking to think a rooted computer needs to be switched on to be exploited.

        • It's even more shocking to assume that he turned his computer off every time he walked away from it. Sure, the trial hasn't been held yet, and (probably) none of us were anywhere near his apartment when the deeds were done. That said, your post proves one thing quite handily: you're a complete idiot.

          • Not really.
            Only time I'm ever disconnected from the anonet/lulzsec/#dn42 IRC channels is when I shut down the computer.

            • by philip.paradis ( 2580427 ) on Tuesday May 15, 2012 @04:46AM (#40003143)

              I believe you've missed the point. Let me rehash it for you. Most people don't shut down their computers, or even put them into standby mode, when they step away from them to run a quick errand. For example, let's say a guy by the name of Leeth Axor decides he's temporarily grown weary of attaining world domination via proxy kiddie antics, and he's suddenly got a deep and abiding thirst for an ice cold Mega Caf Thirsty Boy Gulp fountain beverage. So he heads down to Snacks 'R Us on the corner to obtain said energy boosting goodness.

              On the way to Snacks 'R Us, he's accosted by several young toughs who inquire as to the value of his footwear, but I digress. That's beside the point. What's important here is the fact that young Leeth has stepped away from his console (probably didn't even lock it, meaning his pants are indeed very baggy). Let's assume for the sake of argument that Captain Federali has a few of his mates monitoring our buddy Leeth's domicile via various means, including physical/photographic/videographic surveillance, in addition to Ultra Happy Fun network taps on his Super Badass Ultra Upgraded Home Broadband Connection, slurping up both his wireless emanations (did he really think SUPRHAX0R was a great key, really?) and sitting on a tap at the local coax/fiber interface as well. Thanks, Local ISP!

              Now, the fun thing about in-depth physical and network surveillance is El Capitan's boys have a pretty darn good idea whether or not our hero's workstation is active or in a zombified state. You see, even when he's not actively using it to perpetrate acts of Great Justice upon the Evil Corporate Overlords of the world, that darn workstation is just a chirpin' away on the network anyhow. Sure, anything of value is ostensibly encrypted, but you gotta understand: that doesn't really matter here. Anyhow, I'm digressing again, I'll get to that last point in a minute. The key point here is this lets the Boys in Blue (well, cheap dark blue suits anyhow, or maybe coveralls to go with the construction logo on their van, whatever) know that ye olde workstation is, in fact, still lit up like a frat boy crashing his first sorority party on the gosh darned network.

              Man, you know what? I was gonna keep this thing rolling, get into all sorts of fun anecdotes about MITM attacks, the potential for major CAs to be compromised by government actors, fun stories about naughty hardware/software injection combos, all sorts of stuff really. I really did mean to get to the part about how in the end it doesn't even matter if young Leeth actually powers his workstation off stone cold every time he goes to take a crap. The trouble is, I'm kinda tired right now, so you're just gonna have to wait until tomorrow (maybe, or maybe the next day, I dunno) for the rest of the gripping tale. Sorry to let you down tonight, but never fear, you'll get to hear the whole story eventually. Peace out for now, champ.

              • And you miss the point that if that was the case he obviously wouldn't sign of IRC either.

                Now, if he says on IRC
                "BRB, just going to buy some Cheetos from the 247", then they film him leaving, going to the shop, going to the 247 and coming back with some Cheetos, then they have got a fairly strong case.

                Merely being "in his house" at the same time as someone he is possibly acquainted with is on an IRC channel proves sweet FA about who he is.

                In fact, merely being associated with an IRC name that [i]knows[/i] s

      • by Uhyve ( 2143088 )
        Wouldn't all of that be considered circumstantial? I mean, the guy could just be a massive nerd, barely ever leaving his apartment, and just happened to pop to the shops at one point. I'm not saying he isn't guilty, in fact it all paints the picture that this guy is guilty, but I'm fairly certain that the points you make would be counted as circumstantial evidence in court.
        • Re:Evidence... (Score:4, Interesting)

          by NicBenjamin ( 2124018 ) on Monday May 14, 2012 @11:22PM (#40002113)

          The problem is that circumstantial evidence is still convictable. For example all a fingerprint can do in most cases is place you at the crime scene. But if the crime scene is a stranger's house, you have no plausible reason to have been there, and you've got a criminal record already you are screwed.
          In this case the only way the Feds could get evidence of this guy's IP being used in the forums, except for the five minutes he "happened to pop off to the shop" would be if the actual hacker was watching his door. Which would be difficult to pull off without getting caught because a) he'd have to be close enough to use this guy's wireless node, which means he's probably closer to the door then the cops, without being noticed by either guy or cops and b) the guy has publicly claimed to be a hacktivist which means there's no way a jury's gonna believe he didn't know his wi-fi was being stolen.

          In other words if the cops have the time logs mentioned this guy is screwed.

        • by DrXym ( 126579 )
          I'm pretty certain that the prosecution's entire case will not be "he went out at a time coincident with a lull in a conversation".
    • ...what evidence they have... it was collected... they can show...

      State secret...

    • Interestingly, the article (whoops, TFA) says "former LulzSec member," not "alleged former LulzSec member." I wonder, did he admit being a member?

    • by bws111 ( 1216812 )

      Remember, they don't need 100% absolute perfect proof (which never exists for any case anywhere), they need to remove 'reasonable doubt' from the mind of the jury. Every defendant in every case can say 'it wasn't me' or 'I was framed'. That is not enough to remove 'reasonable' doubt.

    • by http ( 589131 )
      sortadan speculated,

      Since they arrested him they must have some good idea that its him

      You must be new here. Don't worry, your idealism should be gone by the end of the decade.

    • by MarkvW ( 1037596 )

      Man, they have his ass nailed to the wall. They were 'watching' him online at the same time they had eyeballs on him entering and exiting his home.

      Then, there's the search warrant.
      Then there's the snitch.
      Then there's the internet bread-crumb trail.

    • Well when you plead guilty you generally get a reduced sentence and normally large fines. He must know they have good evidence on him.
  • by MRe_nl ( 306212 ) on Monday May 14, 2012 @07:45PM (#40000857)

    News that Stratfor, the "private intelligence service," has been whacked by Anonymous has brought the former organization and its reputation into sharp focus. The fact that Stratfor hadn't bothered to fulfill one of the lowest requirements of cybernetic security -- encrypting sensitive client data -- is one of the most damaging things that can be said about any company in the digital age, much less an "international security organization." This intrusion went quite a bit farther than most -- the Guy Fawkes boys actually managed to extract funds (a reported $500,000 worth) from Stratfor's clients (whom the company insists on calling "members"), which they then gave to charities. The humiliation here is total, and Stratfor will be lucky to survive. []

  • The Real Lulz (Score:3, Interesting)

    by musial ( 2448338 ) on Monday May 14, 2012 @08:07PM (#40001033)
    The real lulz come from the fact that people take Stratfor seriously, and continue to use their overblown moniker of "private intelligence firm". They were/are a news aggregating group that sold stale news articles from REAL news organizations like ITAR TASS and Xinhua. And since most American corporate executives never heard of ITAR TASS, Xinhua, ABN, etc. etc., they were able to pawn it off as their own work. Not only did they sell old news, but they charged a huge price for it. They were essentially an expensive HuffPo with a wanna-be CIA spook edge for effect. Not surprising at all that they didn't encrypt their data, or provide any real security.
      • by musial ( 2448338 )
        How awful would it be, to be arrested and go to jail, for attacking a joke of a company, that no one respected in the first place.
    • Re:The Real Lulz (Score:4, Informative)

      by NicBenjamin ( 2124018 ) on Tuesday May 15, 2012 @12:03AM (#40002261)

      Spoken like someone who never used their services.

      StratFor is completely different from HuffPo. StratFor staff aren't unpaid people looking for exposure, they're full-time employees. They don't have more access then anybody else, but they do tend to know stuff in their narrow specialties. They don't have an ideological axe to grind, and they won't be beaten up by party thugs under any circumstances.

      Look at it this way. Is there an ITAR-TASS article that tells you that the Rwandan-backed Congolese Militia is winning the war because the Rwandan regular Army is capable of coordinating long-distance flanking attacks with satellite phones? Did Xinhua even bother publishing a single story on that war, that didn't focus on Chinese economic performance and/or human interesty crap like how much it sucks to run from said Rwandan Army? I'm not saying that stuff doesn't have it's place, or that it wasn't really important that the Rwandans were causing a massive refugee crisis that probably killed more people then the genocide. I'm just saying that if you wanted a clear view of what was happening on the ground, without distractions intended to suck in viewers who don't understand/care about the difficulties of coordinating flanking movements in the African bush; Stratfor was a godsend.

      Or another example. Which ITAR TASS story tells the Somali faction is associated with the Marehan sub-clan of Clan Darod? Did it include a handy map, allowing you to see which areas of the country said faction controlled? Did it mention whether enough Red Berets survived the fall of the Barre regime to stiffen that organization?

      I'll be the first to admit that Stratfor is a shitty intelligence agency. It's probably inferior to the Danes, Mozambicans, or any country bigger then Iceland. But it's also the only one available to ordinary Americans who are interested in intelligence.

      • Why are you bringing ITAR-TASS here? It's not like Russia is the only country in the world.
        • 'cause the dude I'm responding too specifically mentioned it and Xinhua as the "real news organizations" that Stratfor steals from.

      • by musial ( 2448338 )
        I did subscribe. At one time Stratfor had a "student" price structure and my University paid for it as it was relvant to my study. That is actually how I found these other news agencies. Stratfor offered (and I'm guessing still offers) what they call SITREPS which you could have either emailed batched, or as they came out. I had them delivered as they came out via email, and the vast majority, close to 90%, were credited/attributed to other news agencies like ITAR TASS etc etc etc. You're right, I was wrong
  • Is the government really going to give him any kind of fair shake? They have already decided that he is a "cyber-terrorist." (A cyber-terrorist being one who uses a computer and commits no violence.)

    If he plea-bargains, they'll screw him. Remember John Walker Lindh plea-bargained and he had to give up his right to admit that the government tortured him.

    Will he get a fair trial or be found not guilty? Hell no. But seeing as that's the case he might as well waste the government's resources, so that they

    • Possibly the best outcome would be for him to be found guilty but then be given a sentance significantly less (i.e. a $10 fine) than he was offered in the plea bargain.

      Is that even possible?

      • by bws111 ( 1216812 )

        For someone who already has a felony conviction and is a repeat offender? Not a chance in hell.

  • to him as a "lieutenant" at all makes me think we're decorating a scapegoat. to my knowledge anonymous has haver had any structure similar to the military. what use is it to prescribe an american military title to a hacker? its as though we're trying to make him sound like a bond villain out to rape grandmothers and burn houses. the guy leaked credit card numbers that austensibly belonged to corporations. corporations are not people, therefore this is a victimless crime. corporations have insurance to
    • Some of those card numbers belonged to people. If I'd gotten a real job right out of college I woulda been one of the first to buy their service. It was $99 a year, and I was too poor/cheap to swing it.

      I doubt many of those people were actually screwed by the hack. Contesting charges is not hard. The last analysis I saw actually indicated that the charities Anon "gasve" money to actually lost out on the deal because they had to process both the payment and cancelling the payments.

      • by DrVomact ( 726065 ) on Tuesday May 15, 2012 @09:47AM (#40004673) Journal

        Some of those card numbers belonged to people. If I'd gotten a real job right out of college I woulda been one of the first to buy their service. It was $99 a year, and I was too poor/cheap to swing it.

        I doubt many of those people were actually screwed by the hack. Contesting charges is not hard. The last analysis I saw actually indicated that the charities Anon "gasve" money to actually lost out on the deal because they had to process both the payment and cancelling the payments.

        Yeah, and I was one of those people to whom one of those credit card numbers belonged. I got a deeply discounted membership to Stratfor for a year, but then didn't renew it because I didn't think their news service was worth $99 per annum. While I didn't get any false charges on my credit card, I was inconvenienced by the perpetrators of this hack because my bank cancelled my credit card, and required me to get a new one. I then had to contact to everyone who was automatically billing my charges to that credit card, and give them the new number. Inevitably, I missed a couple, and got some late charges. It wasn't a disaster, but it was certainly inconvenient.

        What really angers me about incidents of this type is the tone of moral superiority taken by their perpetrators and certain members of the community who support them. Somehow, these faceless actors are ascribed the right to judge which people and which organizations are evil, and to mete out punishment accordingly. If they have such a right, then we will soon arrive at the stage where no one has any rights.

  • by MarkvW ( 1037596 ) on Monday May 14, 2012 @11:07PM (#40002051)

    It is a pity that Hammond didn't direct his talents against the internet scam artists and credit card thieves. That would have been so cool.

    But Hammond is going to get LAUNCHED. The feds let him off relatively easy the first time. It won't happen a second time.

    I'll feel sorry for the misdirected loser as he rots in prison. Poor guy: Smart and Stupid at the same time.

    • Funny. You don't sound particularly sympathetic.

      • by Chas ( 5144 )

        Tolerance for idiocy only goes so far.

      • by MarkvW ( 1037596 )

        I really am sympathetic. But if the feds let him out, he's just going to do the exact same thing all over again. I don't think the poor guy can help it.

        That's why it is so sad.

  • I know this guy. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Chas ( 5144 ) on Tuesday May 15, 2012 @12:23AM (#40002335) Homepage Journal

    And, unlike his fawning sycophants, I'm going to call him what he is.

    A douchebag. Plain and simple.

    I was involved with the FBI and helped them put him away the first time.
    It's a sad commentary that a couple years in prison didn't straighten him out at all.
    I've seen his name pop up a couple times in local news. Usually for some new random act of overweening stupidity.
    I'm just stunned that he stooped to credit card theft AGAIN.

    Then again, with his record, and his lack of anything even resembling social skills, he's damn near unemployable.

    But Jeremy now has what he always desired. A national audience. And, unfortunately, there are just enough brain-sick slobs out there for whom his half-witted messsage is attractive. And he's got a martyr complex the size of the Sears Tower.

    He basically belongs in prison, deprived of computer access. Hopefully they'll send him someplace slightly harsher than FCI Greenville this time.

    • by houghi ( 78078 )

      No, he belongs in a court and they will decide if he belongs in prison.

      The fact that he already has done some bad things does not mean they do not need to prove this one as well. It should be an influence once is is found guilty, but not before.

  • Not Much Choice (Score:3, Insightful)

    by glorybe ( 946151 ) on Tuesday May 15, 2012 @12:43AM (#40002381)
    The potential penalties or so severe that pleading not guilty might be his only hope. Frankly i hope he wins.
  • by droopus ( 33472 ) * on Tuesday May 15, 2012 @01:19AM (#40002481)

    I spent 52 months in Feds from 2006 - 2010. IMVHO, this is what's happening, at least on the legal side. He will never get bail. He's innocent till proven guilty, of course, but fed bail is supposedly all about flight risk. "Danger to the community" implies guilt so it can't be used..technically. The question for the Magistrate (who usually decides bail, not the Trial Judge) is: does a set of conditions exist which will assure the defendant's appearance at court? And that, is typically up to the US Attorney or AUSA. I did not get bail and was held at Donald W Wyatt Detention Center in Central Falls, RI for 22 months before finally pleading out.

    If Hammond goes to trial, he will never get out. 92% of all fed criminal cases plead out. Why? Because when the choice is possibly three mandatory life sentences vs five years, you end up taking the lesser of two evils. The Feds add all sorts of sentencing enhancements to make it so risky to roll the dice with a jury, it just isn't worth it. I was not guilty of the offense it was claimed I committed, but I couldn't risk the rest of my life on being able to convince 12 people too stupid to get out of jury duty.

    Hammond's other option is USSG 5K1.1 (Sentence reduction for substantial assistance in convicting another criminal.) The Government must submit a motion for this reduction, IF they like what you snitch. There are other options such as the Safety Valve (for which Hammond is not eligible due to previous offenses. Rapper T.I. got out of prison after like 18 months for machine guns and silencers because he gave the Government substantial assistance. Real gangsta.

    If Hammond miraculously gets out anytime within the next ten years, he got a 5K1.1, most likely. When the feds want you, you're fucked.

    • by Chas ( 5144 )

      You're probably right. But the thing is, Hammond can't afford the kind of bail that'd be set in his case. His parents bailed him last time, and they can't afford to do so again.

      At this point, he's better off riding out the time in his cell reading up for his defense. If he's lucky, the time he spends incarcerated will count against any sentence he's given.

      • His parents bailed him last time, and they can't afford to do so again.

        Did they post bail or pay a bond (not sure how these things work)? I thought you get the bail back once the trial concludes.

        • by droopus ( 33472 ) *

          I did not get Fed bail, but I was released for 14 days to get medical treatment I could not seem to get in Feds. After 14 months at Wyatt I was getting serious chest pain (probably from being in a constant combined state of fear and incredulity) and was getting no treatment at Wyatt. I petitioned my trial judge, and she ordered me sent to FMC (Federal Medical Center) at Devens, MA.

          I arrived there and was immediately put in SHU (Special Housing Unit - the "Hole") and ignored for 22 days. My family and attorn

    • by Hatta ( 162192 )

      That's some really fucking sick shit there. People need to realize that law enforcement and the justice system victimize more people than they protect.

  • by Lashat ( 1041424 ) on Tuesday May 15, 2012 @01:01PM (#40006945)

    Once a suspect is under that degree of intense surveillance it is difficult to emerge from it unscathed.

    1. There was some compelling reason (right or wrong) to place the suspect under surveillance.
    2. Hundreds of Thousands of dollars have been spent and none of the people involved in task want to come up empty.
    3. By combining data from 1 and 2 this becomes a targetted and educated search for convictable case evidence.
    4. 1, 2, and 3 together means that they are not pulling off the surveillance or making the arrest (especially in this case where the suspect is not aware of the surveillence and not a serious flight risk) without a preponderence of evidence to get that conviction. Warrants are issued. Agents/devices are in place. Evidence is piling up. The question is asked. "How much do we really need to convict this suspect?" This decision/answer comes from the U.S. Attorney/prosecution.
    5. Yes. It is possible to that the surveillance turns up nothing, but this usually only occurs when the suspect is truly innocent, changes their behavior, or covers their acts well enough that surveillance yeilds no convictable evidence.

    Getting a conviction in this case carries a large amount of ego/political/social baggage for the prosecution. They want a "heads must roll" payback or a "we will find you" deterrent for all of the lulz seekers out there.

    Innocent until proven guilty, yes. However, I believe that a conviction is pretty much a forgone conclusion in this case. It would take a better lawyer than I, to successfully defend this case. I would imagine that Hammond's lawyer is already focused on the "plea deal".

    Of course, that is just my opinion. I could be wrong.

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