Transcript: Patriot Hacker th3j35t3r Addresses USM Students

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Anthony M. Freed

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The following is a transcript provided to Infosec Island by anti-jihadi hacker The Jester (th3j35t3r) who recently addressed a class at the University of Southern Maine.

The infamous hacktivist opened himself up to a bevy of questions from the students regarding his operations, methodologies and motivations.

The subject matter included his campaigns against radical militant websites, his take down of WikiLeaks in late 2010, his tussles with the Anonymous movement, his military service, and a variety of current security issues.

The participants asked some interesting questions, and a few even challenged The Jester on some of the more controversial operations he has conducted. All in all, it makes for an interesting read - enjoy...

*   *   *

teague              hi all

th3j35t3r              howdy folks.

knowlton              Hello

VVookie              Hi, This is Tiffany. How are you Jester?

th3j35t3r              so you guys all from UMaine?

th3j35t3r              Hi ma'am, good to finally hook up.

VVookie              From the Univ. of Southern Maine...the more awesome campus

VVookie              Good to catch up with you.

th3j35t3r              To the room - Tiffany has been trying hard to collar me for weeks, it's my fault it hasnt happened until now.

VVookie              Nah..we know you have been busy. : P

VVookie              I'm asking students about questions.

th3j35t3r              So what can I do for ya?

VVookie              What do you use to build your tools?

th3j35t3r              I use a variety of best practice languages for the required effect

th3j35t3r              then

th3j35t3r              I wrap them up in a bespoke GUI.

th3j35t3r              for my ease of use lol

th3j35t3r              shell-hopping gets tedious.

eric              Do you have some sort of manifesto that defines your ethics?

th3j35t3r              to close and destroty the enemy, using a full spectrum of tactics and tech.

eric              Ok, then how do you pick/define your enemy?

th3j35t3r              I try not to get personal, I started out against online jihadist radicalization, training etc.

eric              Thanks

th3j35t3r              I took exception to the wikileaks dumps

th3j35t3r              and then had anons all over me.

th3j35t3r              but I am still here.

th3j35t3r              many of them are not.

th3j35t3r              but in answer to your original question

VVookie              Question: Was it personal with the Congressman from RI? What led you to do that QR Code attack?

th3j35t3r              ref jihadists - I used to source my own targets

th3j35t3r              now I rely on hundreds of tipoffs a week

VVookie              Do you share your findings with the Feds?

th3j35t3r              and then have to confirm via my own validation methods that its a target, or a bluey.

th3j35t3r              VVookie, Dan gordon makes his own bed. I helped tuck him in.

th3j35t3r              VVookie, to date I have no involvement with any LEA.

th3j35t3r              I 'share' so to speak via my public twitter timeline.

th3j35t3r              ^^^ no official route, I like it that way.

M0arB0ar              Would there be any incident or reason for you to work WITH anonymous or Lulzsec?

th3j35t3r              none whatsoever.

th3j35t3r              ever

M0arB0ar              no fun:(

VVookie              LOL

M0arB0ar              any future targets in mind?

th3j35t3r              lots.

VVookie              A question from the class: Do you forsee any kind of SCADA attack?

th3j35t3r              absolutely, SCADA vulns have been around for years, but it's coming to the fore now.

M0arB0ar              the qr code injection you used over twitter, those were curious and scanned and not a target, what was your protocol with handling this information?

Jesse              How did you learn about computers? College? Military? or on your own?

th3j35t3r              technical or moral protocol?

VVookie              Question from the class: Are you a man or a woman? ; )

th3j35t3r              holy shit folks, stay calm.

VVookie              Someone is excited for you to be a woman.... ; )

th3j35t3r              To the class: what do you think I am?

th3j35t3r              your first thought is probably correct.

th3j35t3r              unless you are a lesbian.

VVookie              Odds are, they think you are a man.

VVookie              Or you could be Robin Sage....

th3j35t3r              Robin Sgae was created by Tom Ryan, another fine operator.

eric              What led you to get into the work that you're in? Tiffany had mentioned that you were in the US military.

who              do you attend defcon?

VVookie              Tom broke some hearts

th3j35t3r              I was in the militar.

th3j35t3r              *military.

VVookie              2 in this class attending Defcon, a bunch attend from previous classes.

th3j35t3r              I served 4 operational tours.

eric              Care to specify a branch?

th3j35t3r              no sir.

M0arB0ar              thanks for your service, regardless

eric              No worries.

eric              Yes, thank you.

VVookie              Did your Tours encourage you to become The Jester?

th3j35t3r              thank you guys. Wars wont be fought with boots on the ground soon.

th3j35t3r              they willo be fought and won with fingers on backlit keybs.

th3j35t3r              yes my military life, had a hand in what I do now.

M0arB0ar              is there a significance to the alias?

th3j35t3r              more out of finding where I can do something. *something* - to hit back.

th3j35t3r              no alias significance, I purposl;ey chose something that was in no way connected to my real life identity.

M0arB0ar              likewise

VVookie              Question from Class: Could you have done this same kind of work by being a White Hat hacker for the US gov?

th3j35t3r              maybe. But I never went down the easy route.

who              any more politicians in mind?

th3j35t3r              sucker for the underdog story lol

th3j35t3r              nope gordon popped onto my radar, thats not my game.

VVookie              Question: Did anything end of happening to Gordon? Did the Feds investigate the claims of false purple heart, etc?

th3j35t3r              to be fair, he's not really on my radar, I havent kept up with that pissant.

th3j35t3r              ya know busy busy busy ;-)

Jesse              Do you have any formal education?

th3j35t3r              I graduated uni.

VVookie              Was it in Comp Sci? IT?

th3j35t3r              exactly.

VVookie              Really, how did you get your skill set for the students in the class who are learning about infosec careers.

th3j35t3r              but it was later that I joined the mil

eric              Do you see it as an inevitability that you'll end up arrested? If so, are you just trying to do the most good until you are caught?

th3j35t3r              I was a coder for a telecoms firm

th3j35t3r              and got bored, so joined the mil.

th3j35t3r              got excited.

th3j35t3r              I imagine I will get suckered and caught

eric              Bummer

who              can you lower gas prices before that happens

who              ;)

th3j35t3r              I also imagine a jury of 12 will convict.

th3j35t3r              who, I wish.

jwa720              What do you feel is the main difference between other hackers such as Anonymous and yourself?

th3j35t3r              I dont release private individual infos - untill you are an anon and cross me, I hit known valid jihadist targets, and as long as you leave me alone I leave you alone. Theres more to it than that, my timmeline should show it.

th3j35t3r              oh and who can argue with WBC?

th3j35t3r              or gaddaffi? hits?

teague              :D

th3j35t3r              google its all there

eric              What do you think of the situation in Syria?

VVookie              Do you know of any fatwas that have been placed on you?

VVookie              Have the Feds every asked you to do their "dirty work" for them? They have to abide by laws -- there is speculation that you are an "Agent" of the Feds.

th3j35t3r              VVookie, I work alone.

th3j35t3r              I choose my targets - nobody else.

th3j35t3r              at this time.

VVookie              Do you think that the Feds, who claim to have a Lulzsec member, got the right guy?

th3j35t3r              VVookie, I ref fatwahs, I have no knowledge of an official fatwah, but receive numerous deth threats per day.

M0arB0ar              coming from someone who has infiltrated anonymous to a partial level, are they more hype from the media then actual threat?

VVookie              ...or is it spin to show that the FBI really has it together.

th3j35t3r              the real guy they want is @proharris

BallofWax              none of them have it together

th3j35t3r              he's the new(old)sabu

VVookie              Is he from Europe? Poland, perhaps?

th3j35t3r              ^^^ thats an exclusive.

th3j35t3r              numerous personalities tweeted from sabu's old account.

th3j35t3r              @proharris being the most prolific.

VVookie              I knew it! (this is Tiffany..)

eric              How do you know that?

th3j35t3r              he is not a pole

th3j35t3r              and he is not in US

VVookie              [ask me in the classroom]

th3j35t3r              he is in UK

th3j35t3r              he puts lots of disinfo out, all part of the game, but he slips up.

th3j35t3r              sometimes

VVookie              Okay, the "how do you know that" question is for you.

th3j35t3r              because I am J ;-)

th3j35t3r              trust me.

eric              Haha ok

th3j35t3r              (I am not a doctor tho)

th3j35t3r              to be honest folks

VVookie              Do you have more awesome 0 days you're working on?

th3j35t3r              I treat #anon #lulz as a 'live firing range'

th3j35t3r              target practice if you like

th3j35t3r              they are a nuisance

th3j35t3r              if I can avoid the 9000 lol

th3j35t3r              I dont gotta worry about the jihadis getting me.

who              where would you say most of the anon kids come from? 4chan?

th3j35t3r              they used to but with OWS etc its escalated.

M0arB0ar              do you believe anon or lulz has any hackers of your calibur?

th3j35t3r              but their numbers are made from losers generally speaking

who              well 4chan = scum of the internet so yea

eric              Would you consider taking an apprentice?

BallofWax              hahahaha

th3j35t3r              people that need to feel they belong to something

VVookie              Question: Do you disagree with Wikileaks because they put US troops in danger or is it that they released confidential info?

th3j35t3r              people that want to fight but have no reason to

th3j35t3r              almost like conscripts

th3j35t3r              you see

th3j35t3r              a small force of professional volunteer soldiers will anihilate a larger force of conscripts

th3j35t3r              and

th3j35t3r              as I have said previously

th3j35t3r              and to quote the late steve jobs

th3j35t3r              one or two A players will run circles round a team of B and C players.

th3j35t3r              VVookie, REF wl - all of the above.

VVookie              Question from class: Would you go after the US gov, itself, if you felt they were morally compromised?

th3j35t3r              no

VVookie              LOL, we thought that would be the answer.

th3j35t3r              if the gov takes me down - its fair game.

BallofWax              fighting with no reason - US has enough to be embarassed over

VVookie              ..that was a potentially incriminating question. : P

th3j35t3r              VVookie, I break the same laws the bad guys do.

th3j35t3r              I am under no illusions that I am also a criminal.

M0arB0ar              are you a necessary evil though?

BallofWax              Perception is relative

th3j35t3r              you tell me.

th3j35t3r              I follow my heart.

VVookie              [asking the class now]

th3j35t3r              My duty too.

BallofWax              your timeline shows that

BallofWax              ha

eric              What's your duty? Who, or what, do you answer to?

M0arB0ar              AMERICA!

th3j35t3r              I answer to myself guys.

th3j35t3r              I answer to my experiences.

th3j35t3r              I answer to what makes me tick.

VVookie              Question from the class: [batman reference] Are you afraid you may become the evil you are fighting?

th3j35t3r              sometimes I let things get personal.

th3j35t3r              that will be my downfall.

th3j35t3r              I am aware of this fact.

VVookie              We are not asking if you will become jihidist, but if you are afraid the work will get the better of you. You take a lot of risks.

VVookie              okay, answered.

th3j35t3r              ty

Jesse              Do you have a day job?

th3j35t3r              I do

BallofWax              The path to hell is paved with the best of intentions....

th3j35t3r              I have a question...

VVookie              Thanks for permission [this is Tiffany]. I know everyone in this channel.

th3j35t3r              if thats okay - to the class.

eric              I'm up for it.

VVookie              Sure, ask us. ; )

VVookie              : )

BallofWax              I'm not part of her class!

VVookie              But I know who you ARE....: )

BallofWax              :)

VVookie              (answer to Ball of Wax)

th3j35t3r              what is your perception of me, what I do and that said would you do it?

th3j35t3r              given that I have been candid here

VVookie              Actually, I asked this question on their midterm exam. I haven't read them yet, but I will let you know if they don't answer now.

VVookie              [asking them now]

jason              remember black september and the 72 olympics?

jason              and Mossad's response?

jason              lots of people were on both sides of the fence, but the operation acted as a fulcrum

jason              I can see why you do what you do, and do admire your target selection criteria

jason              but, in the end you're reliant on data

jason              just like the mossad kidon teams

jason              bad data == serious screwups

jason              with the kidons, it was a misID of a palestinian employee at a norwegian resort

th3j35t3r              copy that jason

BallofWax              Your comment on them 'being a group of losers' struck me - you are simply a realist.  Acting on experience only can relate to how either disappointed or angry you are at the end results.  My perception is that you are a very rare breed who, whether in theory or in actuality, has huge fraking balls.

VVookie              ...and comments have been made that we would do the same if we felt as strongly about a mission as you do.

th3j35t3r              ^^^^ its known as testicular fortitude.

M0arB0ar              i have respect for your dedication to your beliefs and your actions you take but feel as though you eventually will come to the crossroads of doing whats morally right and what's best for the general public

BallofWax              perfect

th3j35t3r              thankyou folks.

BallofWax              Thank you

VVookie              Another comment: [batman ref] If you don't have a Robin, how will you have a "checks and balances" on your actions?

th3j35t3r              I tend not to get drawn on specifics, so anyone who feels they dont get an answer, its not peronal.

BallofWax              Robin way a homo

M0arB0ar              FACT

BallofWax              was*

th3j35t3r              I dindnt say I dint have a Robin.

BallofWax              well let's not call him Robin

M0arB0ar              need an alfred?

BallofWax              it

th3j35t3r              alfred thats better

eric              But you said you worked alone?

BallofWax              All sidekicks are homos

Jesse              I disagree with what you are doing, but like many whose freedom you have fought for, you have earned the right to do it. Even if it is against the law. I was also in the military, and I served so that others could have the freedom to make their own decisions, even if it is not what I personally agree with.

th3j35t3r              Maybe my Alfred, doesnt know what I speak of, when I explain, psuedo-stuff.

th3j35t3r              ^^^ the advice would be the same.

VVookie              Tiffany says: Maybe, if the Feds come for you, you will have enough supportors to stand up for what you do and a "jury of 12" won't convict.

th3j35t3r              okay folks - thankyou for your time

BallofWax              With the state of everything the world holds...what is the real thing to fight for?

eric              Thank you

BallofWax              thanks again

jason              thanks!

th3j35t3r              I mean it thank YOU for your time ;-)

knowlton              Thanks!

Jesse              Thank you for talking with us!

M0arB0ar              thanks for everything

th3j35t3r              I gotta bail.

VVookie              Thank you!

th3j35t3r              hey!!!

th3j35t3r              ....

th3j35t3r              stay frosty.

eric              Have a good one!

th3j35t3r              and ...

BallofWax              ...

M0arB0ar              you've hacked all our computers

VVookie              [lol]

th3j35t3r              there's an unequal amount of good and bad in most things... the trick is to work out the ratio, and act accordingly.

th3j35t3r              ^^^ take that with you in your lives.

th3j35t3r              peace.

VVookie              very true advice. Thanks SO much for talking with us.

th3j35t3r              ty Tiff.

eric              Thanks

who              thanks, good luck on the lamb :-p

BallofWax              take care

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Sam Bowne To th3j35t3r:

You are very clear here about what you do and why. And you are respectful and polite to the teacher and the students, which I appreciate.

My main concern about you has been the same since the first time I contacted you on Twitter--your path is self-destructive. And I think you know that. Your actions are clearly illegal, and although you have managed to conceal your identity thus far, you can't keep it up forever. And I think the end is near now. The Feds have smashed Lulzsec and are rounding up Anons rapidly, and I think your turn will come soon.

What is your goal? When does this end? Is it really for a purpose, or just an addiction?

Why ride this thing all the way down, like Slim Pickens in Dr. Strangelove? What use will you be to anyone as just another convict in an orange jumpsuit? I don't see how that furthers your individual or political goals.

If you knock off this vigilante stuff now, you might serve as a valuable example of someone mature enough to know when to quit. And I'd rather see that than just another sad story of a blackhat addicted to hacking ending up in jail.
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Mike Bloomberg @Sam & Jester,

Sam, I think the Jester has done a good job of admitting that he is not a hero, and what he does is not legal. he does not do it for everybody else but for his own beliefs. If we had our way he would head straight to the Gov. and offer his services to avoid jail time, but have you ever worked on your own, for yourself, and for your own mission and then been told sorry, none of that anymore, you work for me? there are a lot of people who would rather be in jail then fall into that category but...
@Jester, if that is your fate, would you not consider giving up individual freedom for the benefit of Americans? to bare the burdon of being told what to do in exchange for being able to continue the overall mission? consider it..
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Jon Doh Mike & Sam,

I think you both make logical points; however, with all due respect, I feel you are minimizing the force behind th3j35t3r's motivation. While he admits what he is doing is illegal and that he may be caught one day he continues marching on. His internal programming (be it military training, genetics, state of mind, etc.) allows him to recognize and accept the risks of his actions if things go bad, and continue on. He is a solider, a fighter, and a protector. He is the product of the finest military training the world. I don't doubt for a second that he would continue fighting even if he knew the exact moment when, where, and how he would ultimately be caught.

It is my belief that th3j35t3r is doing what many American’s wish they could do. It is inherent in our society that we right the wrong, fight the fight, and protect our neighbor. Th3j35t3r has the God given talent, technical skills, bravery, and opportunity to stand up for what is right, to protect our military personnel, and to make a difference in the war on terror. I wish I had the skills and bravery to do what th3j35t3r is doing.

So Sam, to your points, his goal seems pretty clear to me, it will end when it ends, and I believe there is a clear purpose. And Mike, I’m not sure I agree with you. I don’t want him to head straight for the government. He would not be as effective in that space.

One last thought. An acquaintance once said to me that military folks are addicted to adrenaline and killing. I don’t know about that firsthand so I can’t say. But I can say thank God for those adrenaline junkies who allow me to tuck my kids in at night safe and sound.

Finally, to th3j35t3r, I respect you for what you are doing. I appreciate the personal sacrifice you have and will continue to make. I think you are making a positive difference in the big scheme of things. I stand with you, as do a great number of people I suspect. Thank you for your service and for keeping me, my family, and our warriors safe. I wish you nothing but the very best.

Peace.
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