Ariz. man pleads guilty in Sony data breach case
An Arizona college student who was a member of a computer hacking group pleaded guilty Thursday to two federal charges of breaking into computers at Sony Pictures Entertainment.
Cody Krestinger, 24, of Tempe, Ariz., entered his plea to one count each of conspiracy and unauthorized impairment of a protected computer, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Eric Vandevelde.
He faces up to 15 years in prison when he's scheduled to be sentenced July 26.
Authorities said Sony Pictures computers were compromised last year in late May and early June by a group known as Lulz Security, whose members anonymously claimed responsibility.
The organization had bragged of accessing more than 1 million accounts, but Sony, whose offices are in Culver City, Calif., later said about 37,500 users had personally identifiable information stolen.
Some of the information was posted on Lulz's website, according to court documents. The breach caused more than $600,000 in damages.
Kretsinger was the first person arrested in the U.S. who is a current or former member of LulzSec, which has been linked to other hacking scandals involving various government and business entities across the world, authorities said.
He admitted in court he belonged to Lulz.
LulzSec is known for its affiliation with the international hacking group Anonymous.
Parent company Sony Corp. has been dogged by personal data loss problems, including separate hacks that compromised the personal information of more than 100 million users earlier this year.