Industry News

Brit Who Hacked X-Factor, PBS Faces Charges in U.S. Too

The 20 year-old Brit who allegedly hacked Fox, PBS, and Sony Pictures, was indicted in the U.S. on conspiracy and hacking charges. Ryan Cleary could face up to 25 years in prison, according to the Associated Press.

The American federal grand jury accuses the alleged LulzSec hacker of attacking the Fox reality TV show “The X-Factor” and the “PBS News Hour,” but also several music companies and government security agencies.

Ryan Cleary allegedly hacked “The X Factor” website to steal confidential data for people trying to get to auditions. He is also charged for cracking and stealing Sony users’ information, and breaking into PBS after an important documentary on WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

Last summer, British authorities sent Cleary to prison for DDoS attacks against the Serious Organized Crime Agency, the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, and the British Phonographic Industry.

Cleary was released on bail one year ago, but got rearrested for breaking the “stay off the Internet” condition after contacting former LulzSec leader Hector Xavier Monsegur. Known as “Sabu”, Monsegur was arrested in June 2011, then started to help Police as an informant.

An FBI representative said the U.S. will decide whether to request Ryan Cleary’s extradition after all the legal proceedings in the U.K. Diagnosed with a type of autism called Aspergers Syndrome, characterized by significant difficulties in social interaction, Cleary is awaiting trial at Chelmsford prison in the UK.

About the author


Bianca Stanescu, the fiercest warrior princess in the Bitdefender news palace, is a down-to-earth journalist, who's always on to a cybertrendy story. She's the industry news guru, who'll always keep a close eye on the AV movers and shakers and report their deeds from a fresh new perspective. Proud mother of one, she covers parental control topics, with a view to valiantly cutting a safe path for children through the Internet thicket. She likes to let words and facts speak for themselves.