FBI arrests suspected LulzSec hacker
The FBI has arrested a 23-year-old man charged with taking part in the attack that the LulzSec hacker group conducted against Sony Pictures' computer systems. Cody Kretsinger was arrested on Thursday (22 September) morning in Phoenix, Arizona. Charges had been officially filed against Kretsinger on 2 September by a federal grand jury.
Kretsinger allegedly broke into computer systems used by Sony Pictures Entertainment between 27 May and 2 June 2011 as a member of the LulzSec group (also known as Lulz Security) under the moniker "Recursion". He is alleged to have worked with other conspirators to exploit an SQL injection hole in order to steal and publish confidential information. The FBI says that it is still investigating the extent of the damage. The perpetrator used a proxy server to cover his tracks during the attack and after the attack, permanently erased the hard drive that was used. If found guilty, Kretsinger could face up to 15 years in prison.
At the beginning of June, LulzSec tweeted that it had broken into the Sony Pictures web site. The hackers claimed that they were able to access the personal data – including email addresses, telephone numbers, postal addresses and passwords – of administrators and more than a million users. Sony had apparently saved all of this information in unprotected plain text. The hackers then posted tens of thousands of data sets online for anyone to download.
At the end of June, LulzSec announced that it was disbanding, only to turn around and hack web sites belonging to News International. In addition to Sony Pictures, the hackers' victims included Nintendo, game developer Bethesda, US broadcasters Fox and PBS, security firm Unveillance and FBI associate InfraGard.
Police in several countries are looking for the activists behind Anonymous and LulzSec – the FBI believes the two groups are connected. In July, the FBI reported the arrest in the US of 14 people accused of being Anonymous hackers. Authorities in the Netherlands and Italy also made arrests. At the beginning of August, British officials arrested a LulzSec suspect, who was later released on bail. Another Anonymous activist arrested at the beginning of 2011 now faces charges in court. The last arrest of a suspected hacker was at the beginning of September.