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AT&T Hacker Sentenced to 41 Months in Prison

A federal judge brought the hammer down on a man convicted of hacking the AT&T Website and accessing email addresses belonging to 120,000 Apple iPad owners.

The judge sentenced Andrew Auernheimer today to 41 months in prison, ignoring a request for probation that he made last week in a pre-sentencing memo that argued his actions were not driven by any intent to defraud or do damage to AT&T.

"Andrew Auernheimer knew he was breaking the law when he and his partner hacked into AT&T’s servers and stole personal information from unsuspecting iPad users," U.S. Attorney Fishman said in a statement. "When it became clear that he was in trouble, he concocted the fiction that he was trying to make the Internet more secure, and that all he did was walk in through an unlocked door. The jury didn’t buy it, and neither did the Court in imposing sentence upon him today."

Auernheimer was convicted Nov. 20, 2012. His co-defendant Daniel Spitler, 27, of San Francisco, pleaded guilty and is awaiting sentencing.

The charges against the men stem from a situation that happened in 2010, when Goatse Security reported exploiting a flaw in the AT&T Website. At the time, AT&T said hackers had exploited a function designed to make the customer iPad log-in process faster by linking a user's integrated circuit card identification (ICC-ID) with their e-mail address.

When an iPad 3G communicated with AT&T's website, its ICC-ID was automatically displayed in the URL of the site in plaintext. To exploit this, the hackers created a script called 'iPad 3G Account Slurper' and used it for several days to steal as many ICC-ID/email pairings as possible.

"Auernheimer's conviction and today's sentence signifies the continued and growing efforts of the U.S. Attorney's Office and the FBI in investigating and prosecuting computer hacking and intellectual property crimes," FBI Acting Special Agent in Charge David Velazquez said in a statement.

In addition to the prison sentence, Auernheimer was also ordered to pay $73,162.

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