Ryan Cleary is accused of participating in a string of attacks by the hacktivist group during a two-month spree last summer.
A suspected member of the hacking
group LulzSec, arrested a year ago in England, has been indicted by a federal
grand jury for hacking into Websites of various entertainment firms and other
companies during a two-month spree last year.
The three-count indictment, handed
up June 12 in a U.S. District Court in California, accuses Ryan Cleary of
conspiring with other members of LulzSec to hack into the Websites of such
organizations as Fox Entertainment, PBS and Sony Pictures Entertainment, as
well as into servers run by several hosting firms in the United States. Cleary
also is accused of in a couple of distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks.
The indictment against Cleary, posted online by the Los Angeles Times
comes more than a year after he was arrested in England, where he is still
being held on charges in that country. He is charged with two counts of the
unauthorized impairment of protected computers and one count of conspiracy, and
could face as many as 25 years in prison in the United States if convicted.
LulzSec was a group of hackers akin
to the older and better known Anonymous collective. It emerged last year, went
on a binge of attacks and hacks, and then announced it was breaking up months
later. By that time, authorities had arrested several alleged members,
However, authorities in the United
States and Great Britain in March arrested five alleged top members
of the group in
an investigation that was made after the groups leader, Hector Xavier
Monsegura 28-year-old unemployed New York City resident who called himself
Sabu onlinewas arrested last year and began working with investigators.
According to the indictments, Cleary
and others first hacked into the Fox Website in April 2011, stealing data from
the television show "The X Factor,"
including confidential information on contestants. Over the next two months,
Cleary allegedly participated in hacks of Sony and PBS, hacked into servers run
by hosting firms QuadraNet and GigaNet, and conducted DDoS attacks against
servers running the online game League of Legends and hosting the Website of
Britains Serious Organized Crime Agency.
The May 2011 attack on the PBS site
reportedly was in response to a Frontline piece about WikiLeaks and Pvt.
Bradley Manning, a former U.S. Army intelligence analyst accused of giving
confidential information to WikiLeaks.
Cleary also is accused of trying to
convince an associate who had been contacted by law enforcement authorities to
give disinformation to investigators to lead them away from Cleary and other
LulzSec members, according to the indictment.
In addition, Cleary and other
members of LulzSec on June 2, 2011, allegedly posted some of the information
stolen from Fox and Sony on a lulzsec.com Website created that same day.