Two Charged with Hacking iPad Info over AT&T Network
Two men, Daniel Spitler and Andrew Auernheimer, have been filed with criminal charges by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) for allegedly attacking and copying personal information from the AT&T network of approximately 120,000 iPad users. Spitler will be charged in U.S. District Court in New Jersey with one count of conspiracy to access a computer without authorization and one count of fraud. Auernheimer will be charged with the same counts at the U.S. Western District Court of Arkansas in Fayetteville. Each charge carries a maximum punishment of five years in prison plus a $250,000 fine.
Investigators accused Spitler and Auernheimer of using an "account slurper" to mount a brute force attack over five days last June. Among the possible victims were celebrities, business executives, government officials such as New York mayor Michael Bloomberg, former White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, and ABC News anchor Diane Sawyer.
Prosecutors said both defendants are associated with Goatse Security, a group of "self-professed Internet 'trolls' " who try to disrupt online content and services.
U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman told Reuters, "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 (and) privacy violations."
'We believe what we did was ethical," Auernheimer told Computerworld last June. "What we did was right."
According to the complaint, the account slurper guessed randomly at data held on AT&T's servers until it could match names with e-mail. The defendants then supplied stolen data to gossip Web site Gawker, which published some details, the complaint said.