A week after the infamous hacker known as “Sabu” was granted a six-month reprieve for cooperating with the FBI, another member of the now-defunct LulzSec faction of Anonymous has been indicted in connection with the May 2011 attack on Sony Pictures Entertainment.
20-year-old Raynaldo Rivera of Tempe, Arizona, also known online as “neuron,” “royal” and “wildicv,” surrendered to the FBI on August 28th, 2012 and was taken into custody, according to a press release from the FBI Los Angeles office. Rivera had been charged on two counts – conspiracy and the unauthorized impairment of a protected computer – in a sealed indictment that was returned by a federal grand jury in Los Angeles on August 22, 2012. The indictment was unsealed Tuesday.
The FBI press release outlines the details of the attack on Sony Pictures:
The indictment alleges that in order to carry out the attack, Rivera allegedly used a proxy server in an attempt to mask or hide his Internet protocol (IP) address. The indictment alleges that Rivera and co-conspirators, including defendant Cody Kretsinger, who was indicted in September 2011 in connection with the same intrusion, obtained confidential information from Sony Pictures’ computer systems using an SQL injection attack against its website. An SQL injection attack is a technique commonly used by hackers to exploit vulnerabilities and steal information. The indictment alleges that Rivera and his co-conspirators distributed the stolen information, including by posting the data on LulzSec’s website, and by announcing the attack via its Twitter account. Kretsinger pleaded guilty in April and is scheduled to be sentenced on October 25 by United States District Judge John A. Kronstadt.
In March and April 2012, a number of prominent arrests, court appearances, and unsealed indictments revealed the progress that federal authorities have made investigating and prosecuting numerous related hacking incidents. Specifically, previous indictments were issued against Ryan Ackroyd (a/k/a kayla, lol, lolspoon), Jake Davis (a/k/a topiary, atopiary), Darren Martyn (a/k/a pwnsauce, raepsauce, networkkitten), and Donncha O’Cearrbhail (a/k/a palladium) in connection with the Sony hacking, as well as other numerous attacks on other targets. Also previously indicted in connection with the Sony attack was Cody Kretsinger, who changed course earlier this year and entered a guilty plea in court. That indictment document for Kretsinger can be found here. The indictment document for Ackroyd, Davis, Martyn and O’Cearrbhail can be found here.
The Electronic Crimes Task Force (ECTF) in Los Angeles — a task force that consists of FBI agents, the United States Secret Service, the United States Attorney’s Office, the California Highway Patrol, and officers and officials from the Police Department; Sheriff’s Department; and District Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles County — led the investigation that resulted in Rivera’s indictment, with assistance from the Phoenix office of the FBI.
Rivera is expected to appear in Los Angeles on September 14, 2012 and faces a maximum sentence of up to fifteen years in prison.