According to freshly leaked court files, the British computer hacker that breached the website of on-line news company Gawker, was caught with the help of a former acquaintance from outside Albany, New York.
According to court documents, an autistic man from New York involved in the Gawker breach helped the FBI,pointing towards a computer hacker known as Kayla in June, 2011.
The Smoking Gun wrote that Thomas “Eekdacat” Madden, helped authorities from abroad to locate and convict Ryan Ackroyd, known as Kayla. He was accused of committing computer crimes with Anonymous and its factions since2010 up to his arrest. Ackroyd, was released from prison in March after serving an almost 3 years sentence.
Hacker Hector Xavier Monsegurknown as “Sabu” was also arrested in June 2011. He provided information to the FBI that led to the arrests of several other Anonymous hackers. Earlier this month, Sabu had his sentencing hearing adjourned for the seventh time in three years.
In some of the Smoking Gun’s files, Madden appears as a confidential witness and he “attempted to cooperate with law enforcement in the hopes of reducing [his] sentencing liability“.
Shortly after being detained, Madden made the right call and confessed to the investigators that he was a member of the on-line group “Gnosis” and admitted his involvement in the December 2010 hacking of Gawker, along with Kayla. Madden confessed to the authorities that he personally decrypted roughly 180,000 account passwords lifted from Gawker’s network.
“We’re deeply embarrassed by this breach,” Gawker said at the time.
The hack attacks were discussed during on-line conversations with the person known as Kayla. Authorities were allowed to see his instant messenger contact list after he was arrested. Due to the access tothese information,the feds had enough evidence to get a search warrant and pen register against “Kayla”, that ended up being identified as Ackroyd.
“Based on pen traffic obtained from the Kayla email account and for the Kayla Twitter account, I learned the both had accessed the Internet through one IP address based in the United Kingdom on separate occasions”, is written in the warrant. “Specifically the Kayla email account accessed the internet on one occasion in December 2009 and again in March 2011 from that IP address, and the Kayla Twitter account had accessed the Internet on one occasion in June 2011 from that IP address.”
The FBI soon collaborated with UK law enforcement officialsand obtained the internet records from the provider of that IP address.
“By coordinating their surveillance with the Twitter account activity, the investigators conducted a search, consistent with UK law, of the residence,” the warrant read.
“The subsequent bureau probe, headed by Agent Olivia Olson, used an assortment of subpoenas, as well as motor vehicle and passport records to identify Madden as the hacker ‘Eekdacat’”, wrote for the Smoking GunWilliam Bastone and Andrew Goldberg.“Following his FBI debriefing — and nearly 12 hours after his arrest — Madden made an initial appearance in a closed federal courtroom in lower Manhattan. A US District Court magistrate released Madden on a $100,000 bond secured by his father, and ordered that his Internet access would only be ‘via an FBI monitored laptop.” they added.
The US post-poned prosecuting Madden for the computer crimes he admitted to in exchange for good behavior and compliance with a list of rules(for six-months he wasn’t allowed to engagea conversation with any non-law-abiding persons, on and off the web). Half-a-year later, the case was closed.
During one of his recent statements, Madden said he had “no contact” with other hackers since his arrest. Federal prosecutor Rosemary Nidiry reported shortly after his arrest, that Madden “actively is cooperating with the government and has indicated an intent to continue working proactively with the government.”
Madden provided investigators with “detailed information” regarding suspected hackers and may be able to testify before a grand jury “for purposes of obtaining an indictment against the defendant’s accomplices and other individuals identified by the defendant.”