Breach, Data Security, Network Security, Threat Management

Second LulzSec member pleads out in Sony Pictures attack


The second person to be charged in last year's hack of Sony Pictures Entertainment, which resulted in the theft of personal information on roughly a million people, has pleaded guilty Thursday, according to reports.

Purported LulzSec member Raynaldo Rivera, 20, of Tempe, Ariz. was charged in August with impairing a protected computer and conspiracy charges.

In admitting guilt, he joins Cody Kretsinger, who also pleaded guilty for the Sony Pictures hijack. Kretsinger is scheduled to be sentenced Oct. 25.

Rivera faced up to 15 years in prison, but with the guilty plea, he is expected to receive a shorter term when he is sentenced, scheduled for March, according to reports.

Authorities said Rivera joined Kretsinger in exploiting a common SQL injection vulnerability to gain access to internal Sony networks and websites, as part of a weeklong attack lasting from May 27, 2011 to June 2, 2011. The hack yielded the passwords, email addresses, home addresses, birth dates and other account information belonging to more than one million users, some of which publicly was posted.

At the time, LulzSec also claimed it made away with 3.5 million music coupon codes.

Rivera, whose online aliases are "neuron," "royal" and "wildicv," allegedly employed a proxy server to hide his IP address. It is unclear how authorities hunted him down, but it's certainly possible LulzSec leader-turned-FBI informant Hector Monsegur, aka "Sabu," may have helped.

Sony drew the ire of groups like LulzSec and Anonymous out of retaliation for the electronics giant pursuing legal action against George Hotz, a hacker who allegedly violated federal copyright law by jailbreaking the PlayStation 3. Both sides quietly settled the suit last year.

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