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?

 
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Cheater87Look what FINALLY came to Australia uncut! http://www.gamespot.com/articles/left-4-dead-2-gets-reclassified-in-australia/1100-6422038/?utm_source=gamefaqs&utm_medium=partner&utm_content=news_module&utm_campaign=hub_forum09/02/2014 - 6:49am
Andrew EisenHence the "Uh, yeah. Obviously."09/02/2014 - 12:53am
SleakerI think Nintendo has proven over the last 2 years that it doesn't.09/02/2014 - 12:31am
Andrew EisenSleaker - Uh, yeah. Obviously.09/01/2014 - 8:20pm
Sleaker@AE - exclusives do not a console business make.09/01/2014 - 8:03pm
Papa MidnightI find it disappointing that, despite the presence of a snopes article and multiple articles countering it, people are still spreading a fake news story about a "SWATter" being sentenced to X (because the number seems to keep changing) years in prison.09/01/2014 - 5:08pm
Papa MidnightAnd resulting in PC gaming continuing to be held back by developer habits09/01/2014 - 5:07pm
Papa MidnightI find it disappointing that the current gen of consoles is representative of 2009-2010 in PC gaming, and will be the bar by which games are released over the next 8 years - resulting in more years of poor PC ports (if they're ever ported)09/01/2014 - 5:06pm
Andrew EisenMeanwhile, 6 of Wii U's top 12 are exclusive: Mario 3D World, Nintendo Land, Pikmin 3, Mario Kart 8, Wonderful 101, and ZombiU. (Wind Waker HD is on the list too but I didn't count it.)09/01/2014 - 4:36pm
Andrew EisenLikewise, only two of Xbox One's top 12 are exclusive: Dead Rising 3 and Ryse: Son of Rome (if you ignore a PC release later this year).09/01/2014 - 4:34pm
Andrew EisenNot to disrespect the current gen of consoles but I find it telling that of the "12 Best Games For The PS4" (per Kotaku), only two are exclusive to the system: Infamous: Second Son and Resogun.09/01/2014 - 4:30pm
MaskedPixelantehttp://www.joystiq.com/2014/09/01/beyond-two-souls-ps4-trophies-emerge-directors-cut-reported/ MMM MMM, nothing quire like reheated last gen games to make you appreciate the 400 bucks you spent on a new console.09/01/2014 - 4:24pm
Andrew EisenThat's actually a super depressing thought, that a bunch of retweeters are taking that pic as an illustration of the actual issue instead of an example of a complete misunderstanding of it.09/01/2014 - 4:20pm
Andrew EisenObviously, the picture was created by someone who doesn't understand what the issue actually is (or, possibly, someone trying to satire said misunderstanding).09/01/2014 - 4:10pm
Papa MidnightPeople fear and attack what they do not understand.09/01/2014 - 4:04pm
Papa MidnightWell, let's not forget. Someone held their hand in a peace sign a few weeks ago and people started claiming it was a gang sign. Or a police chief displayed the hand signal of their fraternity and was accused of the same.09/01/2014 - 4:04pm
SleakerEither people don't understand that what the picture is saying is true, or the picture was created out of a misunderstanding of what sexism is.09/01/2014 - 3:52pm
Sleaker@AE ok yah that's where the kind of confusion I'm getting. Your tweet can be taken to mean two different things.09/01/2014 - 3:51pm
Andrew EisenSleaker - No. No, not even remotely. The pic attached to my tweet was not made by me; it's not a statement I'm making. It's an illustration of the complete misunderstanding of the issue my tweet is referring to.09/01/2014 - 3:13pm
Papa MidnightIn other news, Netflix states why it paid Comcast: http://money.cnn.com/2014/08/29/technology/netflix-comcast/index.html?hpt=hp_t209/01/2014 - 3:10pm
 

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