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Pwned: FBI infiltrates hacktivist group LulzSec

The FBI charged five alleged leaders of LulzSec, an offshoot of Anonymous, after flipping another leader last June. 

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The FBI announced that it has arrested five members of LulzSec, a 'hacktivist' group that has claimed responsibility for a number of high-profile attacks against government agencies and media outlets. In 2011, LulzSec took over the website of PBS, placing this image on it.

AP/File

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The once feared group of "hacktivists" and online crusaders LulzSec, an offshoot of the online community Anonymous, is on the ropes after an international law enforcement operation today snared five men believed to be responsible for cybercrimes ranging from hacking security consultants and entertainment companies to breaking into law enforcement conference calls.

But perhaps most remarkable about the feds' crackdown on LulzSec is that it happened with the cooperation of the alleged leader of LulzSec, whom the FBI flipped last June.

Fox News reports that the leader of the five alleged members of LulzSec was a hacker known as "Sabu," whom the FBI tracked for months in 2011. But when the "brilliant, but lazy" Sabu forgot one time to cover his online tracks, the FBI was able to uncover his real identity: Hector Xavier Monsegur, a father of two living in public housing in New York. 

Once Mr. Monsegur was identified, the FBI were able to keep tabs on him and eventually arrested him in June 2011 on identity theft charges. Monsegur cut a deal with the feds and pleaded guilty in August 2011 to stay out of prison and take care of his children. In return, he helped the FBI track down his comrades -- the men charged today.

They include Jeremy Hammond of Chicago, who according to the complaint filed in New York federal court, was charged with computer hacking and conspiracy to commit computer hacking in connection with an attack on Stratfor, a Texas-based security consulting service. In that attack back in December, emails and credit card information were stolen.

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