Suspected LulzSec hacktivist arrested in Sony investigation


A 23-year-old student, believed to be a member of hacktivist group LulzSec, has been arrested on suspicion of hacking the Sony Pictures website earlier this year.

The FBI confirmed the arrest yesterday of Cody Kretsinger, saying they believed he and co-conspirators had gained confidential data from Sony Pictures by carrying out an SQL injection attack.

Kretsinger faces a maximum sentence of 15 years prison if convicted.

LulzSec said it hacked Sony Pictures' servers in June, accessing more than one million customers' details.

The group published the names, birth dates, addresses, emails, phone numbers and passwords of thousands of who had entered contests promoted by Sony.

Hackers may not be as willing to trumpet their activitiesa major driver of hacktivism.

Aziz Maakaroun, managing partner of vulnerability management firm Outpost24 UK, said the fact students had allegedly managed to compromise Sony had "sent shockwaves across the world."

However, Maakaroun said the arrests would have beneficial consequences for law enforcement targeting hacktivists.

"This latest twist of events may shed further light on this particular saga and provide some much needed information on the workings and members of LulzSec," he added.

"The arrest should also serve as a warning signal to other cyber criminals and would-be hackers as to the severity with which breaches of security are seen."

Rob Rachwald, director of security for Imperva, agreed the arrest may have an impact on LulzSec's activities.

"Hackers may not be as willing to trumpet their activities - a major driver of hacktivism," Rachwald said in a blog post.

"Further, it may impede recruitment of new hackers who could now be a little more gun shy."

Rachwald suggested LulzSec and Anonymous have made mistakes in their operations, especially in leaving an "electronic trail" for law enforcement to use in tracking them down.

Meanwhile, Sony has chosen to stop PlayStation Network gamers filing class-action lawsuits against the company by updating its terms and conditions. It followed a string of hacks on the entertainment giant, which saw data on over 100 million users compromised.

A number of suspected LulzSec hackers have been arrested this year, including Topiary - a teenager from the Shetlands believed to be a major player in the group.

Read on for our thoughts on how much of an impact such arrests will really have.

Tom Brewster

Tom Brewster is currently an associate editor at Forbes and an award-winning journalist who covers cyber security, surveillance, and privacy. Starting his career at ITPro as a staff writer and working up to a senior staff writer role, Tom has been covering the tech industry for more than ten years and is considered one of the leading journalists in his specialism.

He is a proud alum of the University of Sheffield where he secured an undergraduate degree in English Literature before undertaking a certification from General Assembly in web development.