A US federal grand jury in Los Angeles has decided British justice is not enough for a 20 year old hacker.
A Grand jury, or lynch mob, as we call them in Europe, has indicted Ryan Cleary on charges related to attacks by the LulzSec hacking group on the Fox and PBS television networks and Sony’s film and TV studio.
Cleary is awaiting prosecution over similar charges in his native Britain. But the US is worried that he will not have to suffer from one of its backward trillion year jail sentences. In the US he could be jailed for 25 years.
The Grand Jury is step one in getting Cleary to the US where he can face the music for crimes he committed over the pond.
Cleary was used “botnets” to steal confidential information, deface websites or attack servers.
The FBI told Reuters that Cleary is a skilled hacker. He controlled his own botnet, employed sophisticated methods and his broad geographic scope affected a large number of businesses and individuals.
The US charges appear based on the evidence of a super-grass Hector Xavier Monsegur, who had pleaded guilty to hacking-related charges and provided the FBI with information on fellow hackers.
According to the indictment released by the FBI, Cleary and his unnamed co-conspirators hacked into the computer systems of News Corp, which is a little ironic, and Sony Pictures Entertainment and stole confidential user information.
He is also charged with defacing the PBS website and launching “denial of service” attacks against an online gaming website and Britain’s Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA).
Quite why he is charged in a US court with hacking a British site is anyone’s guess. He is already charged with that in the UK, so the question of him being punished twice for the same offence would be unfair.
The FBI magnanimously said that the US authorities would “allow the prosecution to take its course” against Cleary overseas before deciding whether to seek his extradition to the United States.
Our guess is that anything less than a UK hanging will mean the US will ask for Cleary to be extradited.