LOS ANGELES — The FBI on Thursday arrested a member of the LulzSec hacking group suspected over a cyberattack earlier this year on Japanese giant Sony, officials said.
FBI agents arrested the suspect, named as Cody Kretsinger, 23, of Phoenix, Arizona, “without incident,” said US Attorney in Los Angeles Andre Birotte Jr. and Steven Martinez, head of the FBI’s Los Angeles office.
Kretsinger was due in court in Arizona during the day, when authorities will request that he be transferred to Los Angeles to face prosecution over the attack on Sony Pictures, said a joint statement.
He has been charged with conspiracy and the unauthorized impairment of a protected computer, and could face up to 15 years in prison if convicted, they said.
The indictment alleges that Kretsinger and others obtained confidential information in May and June from Sony Pictures’ computer systems using a “SQL injection” attack, a technique commonly used by hackers to steal information.
Kretsinger was believed to be a current or former member of LulzSec or Lulz Security, and used the moniker “recursion” as part of the attack between May 27-June 2 this year.
The indictment alleges that “Kretsinger and his co-conspirators distributed the stolen information, including by posting the information on LulzSec’s website, and then announced the attack via its Twitter account,” they said.
“The indictment further alleges that, in order to avoid detection by law enforcement, Kretsinger permanently erased the hard drive of the computer he used to conduct the attack on Sony Pictures,” added the statement.
In an earlier attack, Sony’s PlayStation Network, Qriocity music streaming service and Sony Online Entertainment were targeted by hackers beginning in April.
In that attack, over 100 million accounts were affected and Sony said it could not rule out that millions of credit card numbers may have been compromised. It has since restored its online services.
The cyberattacks threatened to cause deep damage to Sony’s brand image and the company’s efforts to link its gadgets to an online network of games, movies and music.
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