The FBI, on Thursday, arrested an alleged member of the LulzSec, a hacking group, in connection with an extensive computer attack against the computer systems of Sony Pictures Entertainment earlier this year, officials said.
The FBI said in a statement that Cody Kretsinger, 23, of Phoenix, AZ., was being arrested Thursday morning on charges of conspiracy and the unauthorized impairment of a protected computer.
The nine-page federal grand jury indictment said that Kretsinger, along with other hackers, obtained personal and confidential information from Sony Pictures' computer systems using an SQL injection attack against its Web site, a technique commonly used by hackers to exploit vulnerabilities and steal information.
Kretsinger is believed to be a current or former member of LulzSec, said the FBI. LulzSec is a hacking group also known as Lulz Security. LulzSec along with Anonymous has hacked various prominent online Web sites of Sony Corp., the Arizona State Police Dept. and even the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). LulzSec has declared war against all government sites, banks and corporations under the anti-sec operation.
LulzSec hacked into the database of Sony Corp. and published the names, birth dates, addresses, e-mails, phone numbers and passwords of thousands of people who had entered contests promoted by Sony.
Kretsinger, along with other hackers, tried to mask his digital identity through a proxy server and later permanently erased the hard drive of the computer he used in order to avoid detection by law enforcement, the FBI said. Kretsinger resided in Tempe, AZ.
LulzSec has claimed responsibility for the Sony hack on its Twitter account. The indictment alleges that Kretsinger and other hackers posted the stolen information on LulzSec's Web site and then announced the attack via its Twitter account.
From a single injection we accessed EVERYTHING, the hacking group said in a statement at the time. Why do you put such faith in a company that allows it to become open to these simple attacks?
Kretsinger was supposed to make an initial court appearance before a U.S. magistrate in Phoenix on Thursday. The case is being prosecuted by the United States Attorney's Office in Los Angeles and if Kretsinger is convicted then he will face a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison if convicted.
The government is requesting that he be removed to Los Angeles, where Sony Pictures' computer system is located and where the case against him has been filed.
Kretsinger is an Arizona college student. He is the first person arrested in the U.S. in connection with a cyber attack.
FBI arrested 16 members of Anonymous and Lulzsec hacking group from around the country for cyber crimes in July.