A second suspected member of LulzSec is now facing charges he took part in the extensive computer breach of Sony Pictures Entertainment, FBI officials said.
Raynaldo Rivera, 20, of Tempe, AZ, surrendered to U.S. authorities in Phoenix six days after a federal grand jury in Los Angeles returned an indictment charging him with conspiracy and unauthorized impairment of a protected computer. If convicted, Rivera faces up to 15 years in prison.
The indictment, unsealed Tuesday, said Rivera and co-conspirators stole information from Sony Corp’s Sony Pictures’ computer systems in May and June 2011 using a “SQL injection” attack against the studio’s website.
The indictment said Rivera then helped to post the confidential information onto LulzSec’s website and revealed the intrusion via the hacking group’s Twitter account.
While Rivera was the only person named in the indictment, the FBI said his co-conspirators included Cody Kretsinger, 24, a confessed LulzSec member who pleaded guilty in April to federal charges stemming from his role in the Sony attack.
Following the breach, LulzSec published the names, birth dates, addresses, emails, phone numbers and passwords of thousands of people who had entered contests promoted by Sony, and publicly boasted of its exploits.
“From a single injection we accessed EVERYTHING,” the hackers said 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?”
Authorities have said the Sony breach ultimately cost the company more than $600,000.
LulzSec is an offshoot of the international hacking collective Anonymous and took credit for such cyber incursions on a number of government and private sector websites.
The latest indictment said Rivera, who went by the online nicknames of “neuron,” “royal” and “wildicv,” used a proxy server in a bid to conceal his Internet Protocol, or IP, address, and avoid detection.
Court documents revealed in March an Anonymous leader known as Sabu, whose real name is Hector Monsegur, pleaded guilty to hacking-related charges and provided information on his cohorts to the FBI.
That same month, five other suspected leaders of Anonymous, which federal officials said are also LulzSec members, ended up charged by federal authorities with computer hacking and other offenses.
An accused British hacker, Ryan Cleary, 20, ended up indicted by a federal grand jury in June on charges related to LulzSec attacks on several media companies, including Sony Pictures.
Kretsinger, who pleaded guilty to the same two charges now facing Rivera, faces sentencing October 25. A federal prosecutor said he would likely receive substantially less than the 15-year maximum prison term carried by those offenses.