The Tech Herald

Ryan Cleary indicted in U.S. District Court for supporting LulzSec

by Steve Ragan - Jun 14 2012, 10:00

Ryan Cleary indicted in U.S. District Court for supporting LulzSec

A U.S. District Court in Los Angeles has charged Ryan Cleary (an associate of LulzSec and Anonymous living in the U.K.) with a single count of conspiracy and two counts of authorized impairment of protected computers, according to an indictment filed on Tuesday. Cleary was arrested and charged a year ago this month on related charges in the U.K., it is unknown if he will travel to the U.S. for trial.

According to the indictment itself, Cleary was charged stateside for conspiring with LulzSec during the attacks on PBS, Sony Pictures, and Fox. The indictment also focuses on a separate DDoS attack against DreamHost.

Federal authorities allege that he worked with LulzSec to discover vulnerabilities on the targeted domains, and leveraged his botnet when needed. However, the Grand Jury focused strictly on the fact that he helped with the LulzSec attacks and created the LulzSec website when coming up with the final charges.

However, the indictment lists several incidents, both in the U.S. and U.K. It’s unknown what impact his career in the world of criminal hacking (including running a botnet) had on the Grand Jury itself.

The item in the indictment referencing DreamHost has caught some LulzSec watchers off-guard. The Tech Herald was present when Cleary admitted publically to using a botnet of 5-10,000 bots during both OpSony and attacks against DreamHost.

Last summer, Cleary was formally charged with offences under the U.K.’s Criminal Law Act and Computer Misuse Act. At the time, he was charged with creating a botnet, as well as offering the use of his botnet to others for the commission of a crime.

In addition, he was charged with taking part in the DDoS attacks against the Serious Organized Crime Agency (SOCA), the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), and the British Phonographic Industry (BPI).

Earlier this year, Cleary violated the conditions of his bail by using the Internet to contact another LulzSec member, Hector Xavier Monsegur (a.k.a. Sabu), which led to him being sent back to prison. London's Metropolitan Police arrested Cleary on March 5, just 24-hours before the U.S. Department of Justice announced that Sabu was an FBI informant.

Cleary remains in custody and it is unclear if he will appear in the U.S. for trial. Should he be convicted, he faces a max sentence of 25 years.

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