LulzSec Member Charged in Sony Pictures Computer Attack Case

The U.S. said a second alleged member of the LulzSec hacking group was arrested for the 2011 attack on Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc.’s computer system in which personal data from customer accounts was stolen.

Raynaldo Rivera, 20, of Tempe, Arizona, was taken into custody yesterday in Phoenix, the Federal Bureau of Investigation said in a statement. He is charged with conspiracy and unauthorized impairment of a protected computer, and faces as long as 15 years in prison if convicted, according to the statement.

A Phoenix man, Cody Kretsinger, was arrested last year in connection with the attack and has pleaded guilty, the FBI said.

LulzSec in June of last year posted statements online saying it had broken into and downloaded unencrypted personal information, including passwords, e-mail addresses and dates of birth from 1 million user accounts.

The attack followed earlier ones last year in which Tokyo-based Sony Corp. had said more than 100 million accounts were compromised after hackers broke into its networks. Sony suspended operation of the PlayStation Network in the U.S. and Europe for six weeks after the earlier attacks.

LulzSec, following the attack on Sony Pictures’ systems, posted customer information online from what appeared to be sweepstakes and loyalty-program databases, including one tied to the long-running soap opera “The Young and the Restless.” The group also took information from Sony music operations in Belgium and the Netherlands, it said.

The group, which has also claimed credit for hacking into websites of the U.S. Senate and Central Intelligence Agency, said later in June 2011 that it was ending its cyber attacks. The CIA’s public website was taken down on June 15, 2011.

Rivera made an initial appearance before a magistrate judge in Phoenix yesterday and was ordered to appear in federal court in Los Angeles on Sept. 14, the FBI said.

Susan Anderson, a federal public defender who represented Rivera at his court appearance yesterday, didn't immediately return a call to her office after regular business hours seeking comment on the allegations.

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