Accused LulzSec Hacker Indicted for Attack on Sony Network

FBI agents arrested an Arizona man who has been indicted on charges of impairing a protected computer and conspiracy in connection with a hack on Sony Pictures Entertainment's network.

Another reputed member of the LulzSec hacking crew has been charged with attacking the computer network of Sony Pictures Entertainment last year.

Raynaldo Rivera of Tempe, Ariz., was arrested Aug. 28 by FBI agents. On Aug. 22, Rivera was indicted by a federal grand jury in Los Angeles on charges of conspiracy and unauthorized impairment of a protected computer.

According to authorities, Sony's computer systems were compromised from roughly May 27, 2011, to June 2, 2011, by a team of hackers known as LulzSec, shorthand for Lulz Security. Last summer, the group was linked to high-profile attacks against a number of sites and organizations, including the Fox Broadcasting Company.

The indictment alleges that Rivera, along with his co-conspirators, exploited a SQL injection vulnerability in the Sony Website to obtain confidential information, authorities said. After successfully launching the attack, LulzSec members posted the data on their Website and announced the attack via the group's Twitter account.

"From a single injection we accessed everything," the hackers boasted in a statement at the time. "Why do you put such faith in a company that allows itself to become open to these simple attacks?"

Rivera is believed by the government to have used the hacker aliases 'neuron', 'royal' and 'wildicv' and leveraged a proxy server in an attempt to hide his IP address.

"Others considering committing crimes on the net might be wise to stop believing that using an anonymising [sic] proxy service will necessarily keep them out of the clutches of the law," blogged Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant with Sophos.

Authorities have said the attack on Sony cost the company more than $600,000.

One of the conspirators Rivera is accused of working with is Cody Kretsinger, who was arrested last year and pleaded guilty to hacking charges in April. He is scheduled to be sentenced in October.

The investigation into LulzSec has yielded several other arrests as well. In March, charges were filed against six reputed members, including the group's lead hacker, Hector Xavier Monsegur, also known as Sabu.

In a surprising turn of events, Sabu was revealed to be a cooperating informant for the FBI. Last week, the U.S. Department of Justice requested a six-month adjournment of the case against Sabu, who was scheduled to be sentenced last week and is facing a maximum sentence of 124 years in prison after pleading guilty to multiple charges in 2011.

If convicted, Rivera faces a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison.