The FBI and US secret service have thoroughly infiltrated the hacking community in the US with their own moles, a new report claims.
According to an investigation undertaken by the Guardian, the FBI has used the threat of long prison sentences to turn hackers into their spies inside online criminal networks, creating an entire ‘army’ of informants.
An estimated one in every four hackers is an FBI informant, informing the FBI about the activities of his own peers.
The Guardian investigation revealed that the FBI has filled several underground hacker forums that are marketplaces for stolen credit card information and other financial data, with hackers that have worked with the marketplaces and are trusted by the other people who use them.
In some cases, FBI officials posing as hackers have gained control of hacker forums and are using the information to arrest hackers and foil online attacks.
Eric Corley, the publisher of hacker magazine 2600, claims that as much as 25 percent of US hackers are informing for the FBI and the US secret service.
“Owing to the harsh penalties involved and the relative inexperience with the law that many hackers have, they are rather susceptible to intimidation,” Corley told the Guardian.