Second man pleads guilty to Sony Pictures hacking in 2011

Arrests of LulzSec and Anonymous members leads to claims that leader was an FBI informant
Arrests of LulzSec and Anonymous members leads to claims that leader was an FBI informant

Another person has admitted the hacking of Sony Pictures last year.

Purported LulzSec member Raynaldo Rivera, 20, was charged in August with impairing a protected computer and conspiracy charges. In admitting his guilt, he joins Cody Kretsinger, who also pleaded guilty for the Sony Pictures hijack. Kretsinger is scheduled to be sentenced on 25th October.

The attack on Sony Pictures in June 2011 saw more than one million users' personal information compromised, including passwords, email addresses, home addresses, dates of birth and all Sony opt-in data associated with their accounts. At the time, LulzSec claimed it made away with 3.5 million music coupon codes.

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 2013, 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 week-long attack lasting from 27th May to 2nd June 2011.

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

report by Fox News from March 2012 claimed that the arrests were largely made based on evidence gathered by Monsegur, with sources saying he has been secretly working for the US government for months as a cooperating witness.

Monsegur pleaded guilty on 15th  August 2011 in a US District Court to 12 counts of computer hacking conspiracies and other crimes, including the hacking of Fox Broadcasting Company, Sony Pictures Entertainment and the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS). Charges have also been made over the attacks on Fine Gael, a political party in Ireland, and on security firms HBGary and its affiliate HBGary Federal and Stratfor.

It was announced this year that Monsegur had been given a six-month reprieve from sentencing due to his continued cooperation with law enforcement.

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