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Alleged Stratfor hacker no stranger to law enforcement

Hammond had previously been convicted on hacking charges

March 8, 2012 06:49 AM ET

Computerworld - Jeremy Hammond, one of the five hackers arrested in Tuesday's crackdown on key members of LulzSec and Anonymous, is no stranger to the law.

Court documents released earlier this week show that the 27-year old Chicago native was arrested several times over the past few years for hacking activities, protests, mob action and other charges. The picture that emerges of Hammond is of an individual committed to a variety of activist causes with little concern about their potential consequences.

Hammond's latest arrest occurred late Monday night in what appears to have been a dramatic raid at the two-apartment building where he lives in Chicago. One of Hammond's neighbors who was interviewed on a local ABC news station described running out after hearing an explosion, and seeing about 30 FBI agents swarming Hammond's home.

Hammond was one of five individuals arrested this week in connection with a string of high-profile attacks by hackers claiming to be affiliated with Anonymous and splinter groups LulzSec and AntiSec. He is charged with breaking into computers at security intelligence firm Strategic Forecasting (Stratfor) last December and stealing account information on more than 860,000 Stratfor subscribers and credit card information on about 60,000 of them.

If convicted, Hammond faces up to 20 years in prison. A lawyer for Hammond quoted in the ABC news segment described the suspect as looking "shell-shocked" after his 9:30 p.m. Monday arrest.

Hammond's arrest by the FBI was facilitated in part by Hector Monsegur, also known as 'Sabu,'' a former head of LulzSec who was arrested last July and became an FBI informant Monsegur engaged in numerous online chat conversations with Hammond. The transcripts of those chats were later used to make a case for Hammond's arrest.

Hammond's first major brush with the law was in 2005, when he was arrested for breaking into the website of politically conservative activist group Protest Warrior and stealing information on about 5,000 credit cards.

Hammond claimed he planned on using the cards to make donations to several liberal organizations though he ultimately never did. He pleaded guilty to one count of computer intrusion in connection with the 2004 incident and was sentenced to 24 months in federal custody and an additional three years of supervised probation. He spent about 18 months of that sentence in federal prison and was released in August 2008.

Hammond was arrested again in November 2009 for "violently protesting" a speech by a Holocaust denier at a restaurant in a Chicago suburb though it is not immediately clear whether he spent any time in prison on that charge. In November 2010, Hammond was sentenced to 18 months probation for throwing an Olympic banner into an open fire in Chicago's Daly Plaza to protest the city's attempts to bring the 2016 Olympics to the city.

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