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LulzSec hacker Jeremy Hammond pleads guilty to role in Stratfor leak

LulzSec hacker Jeremy Hammond pleads guilty to role in Stratfor leak

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Jeremy Hammond, the LulzSec hacker and activist accused of breaking into security company Stratfor's servers and distributing internal files to WikiLeaks, has pleaded guilty to one violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. According to Hammond's defense site, Hammond agreed to a plea bargain that carries a maximum of ten years behind bars, though he has not yet been sentenced. He has already spent over a year in jail while awaiting trial, and supporters are pushing for him to be released with time served; before the bargain, he faced a maximum of 30 years.

Hammond's press release referred to his hacking as an "act of protest;" he's previously compared himself to deceased hacktivist Aaron Swartz. His case is one of the last in a series of prosecutions against LulzSec members, many of whom were arrested in 2012 after leader Hector "Sabu" Monsegur agreed to cooperate with the FBI to gather evidence. While several other hackers were charged with with leaking passwords or launching denial-of-service attacks on entertainment companies and government websites, Hammond's prosecution was for more overtly political action: the Stratfor hack provided WikiLeaks with one of its most high-profile data sets.

Earlier this month, four other LulzSec hackers were sentenced for a series of online attacks, and other American members of LulzSec have already pleaded guilty. Hammond, however, may end up being likened more closely to Bradley Manning, another WikiLeaks whistleblower whose trial is set to begin this summer, or to internet troll Weev, who was sentenced to 41 months in jail after exposing data he found through a major AT&T security flaw.