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LulzSec hacker receives year in prison for Sony breach

An entrance gate to Sony Pictures Entertainment at the Sony Pictures lot is pictured in Culver City, California April 14, 2013. REUTERS/Fred
An entrance gate to Sony Pictures Entertainment at the Sony Pictures lot is pictured in Culver City, California April 14, 2013. REUTERS/Fred

By Dan Whitcomb

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A hacker who pleaded guilty last year to taking part in an extensive computer breach of Sony Pictures Entertainment was sentenced on Thursday in Los Angeles to a year in prison, followed by home detention, federal prosecutors said.

Cody Kretsinger, a LulzSec hacker who used the online moniker "Recursion," pleaded guilty in April 2012 to one count each of conspiracy and unauthorized impairment of a protected computer as part of a plea agreement with prosecutors.

LulzSec, an offshoot of the international hacking group Anonymous, has taken credit for hacking attacks on government and private sector websites.

Kretsinger, 25, was also ordered by a U.S. district judge in Los Angeles to perform 1,000 hours of community service after his release from prison, said Thom Mrozek, spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office in Los Angeles.

During last year's plea hearing, Kretsinger told a federal judge that he gained access to the Sony Pictures website and gave the information he found there to other members of LulzSec, who posted it on the group's website and Twitter.

Prosecutors said Kretsinger and other LulzSec hackers ultimately caused the unit of Sony Corp more than $600,000 in damage.

Kretsinger's plea came a month after court documents revealed that Anonymous leader "Sabu," whose real name is Hector Xavier Monsegur, had pleaded guilty to hacking-related charges and provided the FBI with information on fellow hackers.

Prosecutors have declined to say if Kretsinger was also cooperating with authorities in exchange for leniency.

Anonymous and its offshoots, including LulzSec and AntiSec, focused initially on fighting attempts at Internet regulation and the blocking of free illegal downloads, but have since taken on other targets including Scientology and the global banking system.

Anonymous, and LulzSec in particular, grabbed the spotlight in late 2010 when they launched what they called the "first cyber war" in retaliation for attempts to shut down the Wikileaks website.

Last week a 26-year-old British man pleaded guilty in that country to carrying out cyber attacks on targets including Sony and Nintendo as part of LulzSec while using the online persona of a 16-year-old girl named Kayla.

(Reporting by Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Cynthia Johnston, Tim Dobbyn and Steve Orlofsky)

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