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‘LulzSec’ Associated Indicted in U.S. for Hack Attacks

‘LulzSec’ Associate Ryan Cleary
Ryan Cleary, associate of the “LulzSec” hacking group. Photographer: Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images

A 20-year-old U.K. man and associate of the “LulzSec” hacking group was indicted on charges of computer attacks on Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc., Fox Entertainment Group Inc. and other entities.

Ryan Cleary, incarcerated as he faces foreign prosecution in England, was indicted by a federal grand jury in Los Angeles on one count of conspiracy and two counts of impairing computers, Andre Birotte, U.S. Attorney in Los Angeles, said in an e-mail yesterday.

From April through June last year, Cleary conspired with LulzSec members to hack into computer systems and steal data and launch attacks that flood targeted computer systems with commands to disable them, prosecutors alleged.

Cleary controlled a large botnet of tens of thousands, and potentially hundreds of thousands of bots, prosecutors said. Botnets are a collection of computers infected with malicious software. Cleary used his botnet to conduct attacks against various entities, prosecutors said.

Karen Todner, Cleary’s attorney in the U.K., didn’t respond to an e-mail message seeking comment on the indictment sent after regular business hours yesterday.

Cleary was charged in England with installing or altering files on Pentagon computers that were controlled by the U.S. Air Force and accessing computers operated by News Corp.’s Twentieth Century Fox, Sony Corp., the U.K.’s National Health Service, the Arizona State Police, and technology-security company HBGary Inc.

LulzSec is known for its affiliation with the international group of hackers known as “Anonymous,” which was described in the June 12 indictment as a collective of computer hackers and other individuals located throughout the world who conduct cyber attacks against individuals and entities they perceive to be hostile to its interests.

The case is U.S. v. Cleary, 12-561, U.S. District Court, Central District of California (Los Angeles).

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