Cody Kretsinger – a hacker known by his nom de guerre “Recursion” – pleaded guilty to an extensive computer network security hack of Sony Pictures Entertainment and was sentenced on Thursday to one year and one day in prison, to be immediately followed by a one year of home detention, plus 1,000 hours of community service.
The Los Angeles court also demanded that Kretsinger pay the multimedia company a total of US$605,663 in damages. Kretsinger is a member of the hacker group LulzSec, an offshoot of the globally infamous “Anonymous” group. The hacker had pleaded guilty in April 2012 to conspiracy and unauthorized impairment of a protected computer as part of a plea bargain agreement with the prosecutors. The hack involved compromising the security on the Sony Pictures Entertainment website via an SQL injection that allowed him to access secure data within the site. He then copied personal information – names, addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses – of thousands of Sony customers who were registered with the site, and gave the data to LulzSec who posted on websites and on Twitter.
Kretsinger’s guilty plea came in the wake of Anonymous leader “Sabu” – real name Hector Xavier Monsegur – also pleading guilty to hacking and other related charges, and even providing the FBI with information on other hackers. LulzSec and its members had before taken credit for attacks on government and private sector websites. Anonymous and the other groups that have appeared under its organization, like LulzSec and AntiSec, had initially focused their attacks on fighting Internet regulation. Since then, they have shifted to taking on other targets in the private sector, global banking networks, and causes like Scientology.