April 30, 2013. Sacramento. In April 2011, Sony Online Entertainment discovered its servers had been hacked. After first denying any breach, the company was later forced to pull its entire online entertainment division off the internet. During the cyber break-in, the corporation admitted the personal data of 24.6 million Sony users was compromised. Now, the first of the hackers convicted of the crime has been sentenced.
With federal prison sentences of one year for the 2011 Sony hacking, some LulzSec hack-tivists may be back sooner rather than later. Image courtesy of IphoneEinstein.com.
Two years ago, Japan’s Sony Corporation found itself in the crosshairs of cyber hackers from around the globe. Partly due to its vast wealth and dominance, and partly due to the company’s arrogance and confrontational posture, groups like Anonymous, LulzSec and AntiSec targeted the mega-corporation. Some of the individual and independent rapid-fire attacks used the Play Station 3’s console to gain access into the homes and personal information of PS3 users, including the credit card information for 23,000 Sony customers.
At the time, the Sony Online Entertainment cyber attack was mixed in with a slew of server break-ins at places like the CIA, FBI, Scotland Yard, US Army, the Vatican, and an endless list of other pillars of the world’s elite establishment. But unlike most of the others, Sony executives hinted that the damage done to the company could be as high as $24 billion. Not only did the corporation have to take its entire online business off the internet, but Sony stock saw its price plunge 25% in the months following the attack and the company’s botched handling of it.
One year later, US law enforcement officials had managed to infiltrate a LulzSec cell. One of its members who went by the screen name Sabu had carelessly bragged about his involvement in the Sony attacks and soon found himself secretly arrested by the FBI and enlisted as an informant for the agency. By May 2012, 31 accused hackers had been arrested in a half dozen countries around the world, including the US, UK, Spain, Chile and Argentina. Read the Whiteout Press articles, ‘LulzSec Hacker Leader a Federal Informant’ and ‘Anonymous Cell gets Careless, Infiltrated, Busted’ for details.
Cody Andrew Kretsinger
One of those cyber hackers caught up in the FBI infiltration of LulzSec was 25 year-old Cody Andrew Kretsinger. He was one of the 31 arrested individuals and one of the many accused of taking part in the hacking of the Sony servers. He eventually pled guilty to conspiracy and unauthorized impairment of a protected computer. Two weeks ago, the Decatur, Illinois resident was sentenced to one year in federal prison, 1,000 hours of community service and a $605,000 fine.
As detailed by the Los Angeles Times, Cody Andrew Kretsinger went by the online name Recursion during the time he secretly participated with other LulzSec hackers in the Sony breach. He’s joined by fellow LulzSec hacker Raynaldo Rivera who also pled guilty and will be sentenced next month in the federal District Court for Central California.
Across the Atlantic, four additional LulzSec hackers will be sentenced in a London courtroom for their participation in the Sony hacking, as well as some of the other incidents. Their sentencing will be announced on May 14. In all, the arrests of 2011 took quite a toll on the hack-tivist sets. What were once crippling attacks on some of the most secure servers in the world has declined to momentary outages at secondary targets.
It’s become obvious that many of the most daring, experienced and successful members of Anonymous, LulzSec and AntiSec were caught up in the global arrests. And so far, the groups still haven’t recovered. But if the sentences continue to be in the one-year range, they will.
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