iPad Hackers Charged by Federal Prosecutors

January 19, 2011 -

ABC News reports that two men have been charged with hacking AT&T's servers and stealing the private information of nearly 120,000 iPad users including such notables as Hollywood heavyweight Harvey Weinstein, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and President Obama's former chief of staff Rahm Emanuel. Some have called the men "Internet trolls" because of the way they allegedly bragged about it online. The security breach occurred during the initial release of Apple's iPad, according to court documents.

The two are 26-year-old Daniel Spitler of San Francisco, and 25-year-old Andrew Auernheimer of Fayetteville, Ark. Both received a charge of fraud and conspiracy to access a computer without authorization. The charges were announced by the U.S. prosecutors office in Newark, N.J.

According to the complaint filed by the FBI in Newark this week, Spitler and Auernheimer allegedly used a "brute force hack tactic" over the course of several days on AT&T servers. After breaching security, the duo uncovered email addresses related to 120,000 iPad accounts.

After the attack, Gawker.com was allegedly supplied with information obtained during the hack from the group Goatse Security, described in the complaint as a "loose association of internet hackers" that Spitler and Auernheimer were allegedly associated with.

The court papers cite that Gawker report. Around 120,000 emails were captured including notable personalities and politicians such as Bloomberg, Weinstein, Rahm Emanuel, ABC News anchor Diane Sawyer, and several Department of Defense employees.

Auernheimer and Spitler also allegedly talked about the hack in chat logs, which were given to the FBI. The FBI says that Auernheimer also took credit for the attack in an email he sent to the U.S. Attorney's office in New Jersey in November.

"AT&T needs to be held accountable for their insecure infrastructure as a public utility and we must defend the rights of consumers, over the rights of shareholders," he wrote, according to the complaint.

While Auernheimer claimed to do this in the name of exposing a security flaw to AT&T to protect iPad users, the FBI isn't buying that explanation: they see it purely as a crime done simply for thrills or notoriety:

"Hacking is not a competitive sport, and security breaches are not a game. Companies that are hacked can suffer significant losses, and their customers made vulnerable to other crimes, privacy violations, and unwanted contact," U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman tells ABC News.

"Unauthorized intrusions into personal privacy adversely affect individual citizens, businesses, and even national security," said Michael Ward, special agent in charge of the FBI's Newark field office. "Such intrusion cases, regardless of the motive is criminal gain or prestige among peers in the cyber-hacking world, must and will be aggressively pursued to ensure these rights are protected to the highest degree."

The ABC News report also points to a 2008 interview that Auernheimer did with the New York Times:

"I hack, I ruin, I make piles of money. I make people afraid for their lives," he said to the Times.

The FBI also claims that the men wanted to make money off the stolen data.. in the stock market. During one online conversation between the two, they discussed holding off on announcing the security breach so they could "short AT&T stock."

The logs, which were handed over to the FBI by an anonymous source last summer, are part of the court documents filed this week, according to Computer World. Spitler surrendered to the FBI in Newark on Tuesday and is scheduled to appear in federal court. Auernheimer is scheduled to appear in federal court in Fayetteville. Neither men have entered a plea.

Source: ABC News

 


Comments

Re: iPad Hackers Charged by Federal Prosecutors

Re: iPad Hackers Charged by Federal Prosecutors

So, bragging = trolling somehow?

 
Forgot your password?
Username :
Password :

Poll

How do you feel about Amazon buying Twitch?:

Shout box

You're not permitted to post shouts.
Andrew EisenConster - Don't know. Got a link to whatever you're referring to?08/30/2014 - 7:04pm
ConsterWait, what's this about Leland Yee eliminating witnesses?08/30/2014 - 5:50pm
IanCBroke my EA boycott to pick up Plants vs Zombies Garden Warfare. Loving it. Still hate EA though. But i like Popcap. Gah.08/30/2014 - 6:01am
MaskedPixelantehttp://m.tickld.com/x/something-you-never-realized-about-guardians-of-the-galaxy Right in the feels.08/29/2014 - 6:56pm
AvalongodAgain I think we're conflating the issue of whether Sarkeesian's claims are beyond critique (no they're not) and whether its ever appropriate to use sexist language, let alone physical threats on a woman to intimidate her (no it isn't)08/29/2014 - 5:04pm
prh99Trolling her or trying to assail her integrity just draws more attention (Streisand effect?). Which is really not what the trolls want, so the only way to win (if there is a win to be had) is not to play/troll.08/29/2014 - 5:02pm
prh99Who cares, just don't watch the damn videos if you don't like her. Personally, I don't care as far as she is concerned as long there are interesting games to be played.08/29/2014 - 4:34pm
Andrew EisenZip - And yet, you can't cite a single, solitary example. (And no one said you hated anyone. Along those lines, no one claimed Sarkeesian was perfect either.)08/29/2014 - 3:51pm
Andrew EisenSaint's Row: Gat Out of Hell was just announced for PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One making it the 150th game For Everything But Wii U! Congratulations Deep Silver!08/29/2014 - 3:49pm
ZippyDSMleeI do not hate them jsut think its mostly hyperlobe.08/29/2014 - 3:40pm
Andrew EisenSleaker - I'd say that's likely. From my experience, most who have a problem with Sarkeesian's videos either want to hate them in the first place (for whatever reason) or honestly misunderstand what they're about and what they're saying.08/29/2014 - 3:16pm
james_fudgeWe appreciate your support :)08/29/2014 - 2:55pm
TechnogeekIt gives me hope that maybe, just maybe, the gaming community is not statistically indistinguishable from consisting entirely of people that your average Xbox Live caricature would look at and go "maybe you should tone it down a little bit".08/29/2014 - 2:49pm
TechnogeekI just want to say that while I've disagreed with the staff of this site on several occasions, it's still good to see that they're not automatically dismissing Anita's videos as a "misandrist scam" or whatever the preferred dismissive term is these days.08/29/2014 - 2:49pm
E. Zachary KnightZippy, So you can't find even one?08/29/2014 - 1:04pm
ZippyDSMleeAndrew Eisen:Right because shes prefect and never exaggerates... *rolls eyes*08/29/2014 - 12:53pm
SleakerAnd honestly, nearly all of the games she references, or images she depicts I've always cringed at and wondered why they were included in games to begin with, from pinups through explicit sexual depictions or direct abuse. I think it's cheap storytelling.08/29/2014 - 12:35pm
Sleaker@AE - aren't most people fundamentally misunderstanding her at this point? haha.. On a related note I think a lot of the backlash is coming from males that think she is telling them their 'Generic Male Fantasy' is bad and wrong.08/29/2014 - 12:33pm
Andrew EisenAnd no, I don't think the female community would be upset over the performance of a case study in and of itself. Possibly the mostivations behind such a study, the methodology or conclusions but not the mere idea of a case study.08/29/2014 - 12:29pm
Andrew EisenAmusingly, these videos aren't saying you can't/shouldn't use tropes or that sexual representations are inherently problematic so those are very silly things to have a problem with and indicate a fundamental misunderstanding of the series.08/29/2014 - 12:29pm
 

Be Heard - Contact Your Politician