American prosecutors have filed charges with a federal grand jury against accused British LulzSec member Ryan Cleary over hacking attacks on Sony, Fox, and several US hosting companies.
Cleary, 20, is already facing charges in the UK that he hacked into the website of Soca (the UK police agency charged with investigating serious crime) and several music sites as part of his involvement with the LulzSec group. He was unable to attend the US event, as he's currently residing in a British jail cell after breaching his bail conditions by going online.
Prosecutors claim that Cleary conspired with LulzSec to use a personal botnet with tens of thousands of nodes to break into his target computer systems by identifying their security vulnerabilities and exploiting them. The charge sheet claims that in April 2011 he got into the systems of the Fox Network's "X-Factor" show to get details on audition applicants. He then hit PBS in May, an attack that was claimed by LulzSec at the time.
The FBI claim Cleary had a busy June. He is charged with the attack (also claimed by LulzSec) on Sony Picture's servers which stole information on the users of its website. He allegedly then set up lulzsecurity.com to publish that info and the Fox data, using resources from into US hosting companies Linode, QuadraNet, and GigeNET to do so. He took the time to DDoS the servers hosting the game "League of Legends" before turning his attentions on the British police web site on June 20, the charges claim.
Cleary, who also used the handles "Anakin," "hershcel.mcdooenstein", "George hampsterman", and "ni" (he's apparently a fan of Monty Python's knights,) faces 25 years in prison – that is, if he ever makes it over to the States. He was one of the many people arrested after the FBI successfully turned its claimed leader Hector Xavier Monsegur, aka Sabu.
Monsegur pled guilty to hacking charges and cooperated with authorities, even turning Cleary in after the Essex boy contacted him while on bail. So far, further arrests have been made in the US, UK, and Ireland. ®