Ryan Cleary Indicted in L.A. For Alleged LulzSec Hacking of X-Factor, Sony, PBS

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Wed, Jun 13, 2012 at 4:03 PM
click to enlarge LulzSec's logo.
  • LulzSec's logo.

The FBI today announced it has indicted one Ryan Cleary, an alleged hacker it says was part of the Anonymous spin-off called LulzSec.

He's a 20-year-old Brit living in England, so why is the long arm of the U.S. law reaching out to him from Los Angeles? Authorities say he hacked into our Hollywood matrix, namely Fox's The X-Factor, the Sony Pictures' website, and PBS.

Hell hath no fury like an entertainment executive scorned:

A federal grand jury in L.A. returned an indictment against Clearly yesterday, according to an FBI statement released today. It hit him with one count of conspiracy and two counts of "unauthorized impairment" of computer networks.

[See photos of the bugger here].

Feds say he had a "botnet," essentially an army of remote computers that he took over, and used it, along with other LulzSec members, to take down websites and wreak havoc on the computer systems of targets last year.

He did this mostly through "distributed denial of service" or DDoS attacks that essentially overwhelm a website so that it's taken out, prosecutors say. His army of bots might have reached into the hundreds of thousands, they said.

He would even rent out his fleet of zombie computers to fellow hackers so they could use them to coordinate their own attacks, the indictment alleges.

His targets allegedly included:

-Fox, where he went after the information of people who wanted to audition for The X-Factor.

-PBS, which saw its News Hour show site defaced by an attack.

-Sony Pictures' website and the information of users who had registered there.

Cleary and friends then published information he got from Fox and Sony on a lulzsecurity.com site he helped set up, feds say.

They also accuse him of trying to get an associate to mislead law enforcement -- to give agents information that "leads away from" LulzSec, according to text of the indictment.

Last summer the FBI nabbed alleged fellow LulzSec member Cody Kretsinger in connection with the Sony attack.

If convicted Clearly could face 25 years behind bars. Unfortunately for the FBI, he's already being held in the U.K. based on similar allegations.

[@dennisjromero / djromero@laweekly.com / @LAWeeklyNews]

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