(newscientist.com) It was early May when LulzSec’s profile skyrocketed after a hack on the giant Sony corporation. LulzSec’s name comes from Lulz, a corruption of LOL, often denoting laughter at the victim of a prank. For 50 days until it disbanded, the group’s unique blend of humour, taunting and unapologetic data theft made it notorious. But knowing whether LulzSec was all about the “lulz” or if it owed more to its roots as part of Anonymous, the umbrella group of internet subculture and digital activism, was pure speculation. Until now.
Who is “Sabu”?
I’m a man who believes in human rights and exposing abuse and corruption. I generally care about people and their situations. I’m into politics and I try my best to stay on top of current events.
We’ve seen you cast as everything from the greatest of heroes to the most evil of villains. How would you characterise yourself?
It is hard for me to see myself as either. I am not trying to be a martyr. I’m not some cape-wearing hero, nor am I some supervillain trying to bring down the good guys. I’m just doing what I know how to do, and that is counter abuse.
What was your first experience with “hacktivism”?
I got involved about 11 years ago when the US navy was using Vieques Island in Puerto Rico as a bombing range for exercises. There were lots of protests going on and I got involved in supporting the Puerto Rican government by disrupting communications. This whole situation was the first of its kind for the island and the people didn’t expect things to go that route. Eventually, the US navy left Vieques.
How did you get involved with Anonymous?
When I found out about what happened to Julian Assange, his arrest in the UK and so on, I found it absolutely absurd. So I got involved with Anonymous at that point.
What operation really inspired you and why?
Earlier this year, we got wind of the Tunisians’ plight. Their government was blocking access to any website that reported anti-Tunisian information, including Tunileaks, the Tunisian version of Wikileaks, and any news sites discussing them.
Tunisians came to us telling us about their desire to resist. “Disrupt the government of Tunisia,” they said, and we did. We infiltrated the prime minister’s site and defaced it externally. When Tunisia filtered off its internet from the world, it was the Tunisians who came online using dial-up and literally allowed us to use their connections to tunnel through to re-deface the prime minister’s websites. It was the most impressive thing I’ve seen: a revolution coinciding both physically and online. It was the first time I had proof that what Anonymous was doing was real and it was working.
What would you like to say to people who say that you and other Antisec/Anonymous/LulzSec members are just troublemakers who have caused untold damage and loss to people for no apparent reason?