Federal prosecutors brought charges against a group of men allegedly behind "LulzSec"—a globe-spanning collective of computer hackers who wreaked havoc on companies, governments and individuals world-wide—after one turned government informant.
Known in hacking circles as "Sabu," the alleged informant, 28-year-old Hector Xavier Monsegur, who lived in and worked from a public-housing project in New York City, was arrested in June by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and became a cooperating witness, according to a person familiar with the matter and a charging document.
The hackers' group known as Lulz Security, or LulzSec, formed last May and claimed responsibility for a series of brazen online attacks. Members claimed to have hacked into the computers of television network PBS last May in retaliation for a "Frontline" episode about WikiLeaks, and hacked Sony Pictures computers and stole personal information about 100,000 of its customers. Its biggest attack came last June, with the alleged theft of data about 200,000 users of a website for the game Brink, which is produced by Bethesda Softworks. These and other attacks are cited in the charging documents released Tuesday.
Online, the hacker known as Sabu—whom prosecutors now allege was Mr. Monsegur—was well known to be the leader of the LulzSec group, according to John D'Arcy, an assistant professor at the University of Notre Dame Mendoza College of Business, who studies hacking. "He was almost like a cyber-celebrity," he said.