"Hello, I Am Sabu ... "
On the day that he joined forces with the hacker collective Anonymous, Hector Xavier Monsegur walked his two little girls half a dozen blocks to their elementary school. “My girls,” he called them, although they weren’t actually his children. Monsegur, then 27, had stepped in after their mother—his aunt—returned to prison for heroin dealing.
After he dropped off the girls, he walked to his apartment at 90 Avenue D, in the Jacob Riis projects, where he’d lived virtually his entire life. He passed through the dimly lit lobby, took the beat-up elevator to his floor, and went into apartment 6F. Monsegur’s prized possession was a computer, dilapidated but serviceable, its keyboard missing the shift, 7, and L keys. He sat down and went to work.
In the projects, Hector Monsegur was far from a tough guy. He was a bit of a nerd, in fact. But online he became an entirely different person—Sabu, he’d christened himself. “I’m a wild nigga,” he typed in a December 2010 chat. “Everyone knows me for my behavior … and I’m here like a pit bull wanting to own,” which is to take over other people’s computers and, sometimes, their entire identities.