Hacker Pleads Guilty in AT&T iPad Breach

172558 ipad 3g badgeDaniel Spitler pleaded guilty Thursday to two felony charges related to the publishing of 120,000 AT&T customers' email addresses on Gawker.com. One other member of hacking group "Goatse Security", Andrew Auernheimer, was charged as well and is still in plea bargain negotiations. Spitler's plea agreement recommends a 12-18 month sentence.

According to reports and court filings, they wrote a script that guessed the ICC-ID numbers (used to identify the iPad's SIM card) and then queried AT&T's website until it returned an e-mail address. Spitler had been accused of co-authoring this software, called "iPad 3G Account Slurper."

The original breach occurred in June of last year. The hackers discovered a security hole on AT&T's website that allowed users to plug in a SIM card identifier called an ICC-ID, and receive back the email address connected to that SIM card.

More than 114,000 email addresses were disclosed including the personal email addresses of a number of high-profile political and business figures, though it appears no actual damage occurred beyond the exposure of the email addresses.

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Top Rated Comments

NoExpectations Avatar
169 months ago
Remind me again what AT&T got for this? Oh, that's right. A slap on the wrist.

It's also easy to steal merchandise in a store, why would a store get punished when someone steals from them?

AT&T got more than a slap....bad PR is hard to recover from.

Hackers are criminals. They should realize that.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
johnalan Avatar
169 months ago
I bet he didn't think he'd spend time in prison when he did it.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
gnasher729 Avatar
169 months ago
I wonder how many job offers he's received because of this. :rolleyes:

Zero. Hacking doesn't exactly take a genius, and it shows lack of morals and in this case lack of good judgement. Getting caught makes it worse. Not exactly what recommends you to any employer.

Look at it like this: If I did something bad that costs a customer lots of money, my company will say "well, we couldn't expect that; he came well recommended, had no complaints about him for years; no idea why he suddenly sold your customer data to a competitor; not our fault". If a convicted hacker did the same thing, my company would be in deep trouble, because any jury would say that the damage is their fault for hiring a known criminal.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
blueroom Avatar
169 months ago
I bet he didn't think he'd spend time in prison when he did it.

"Hope you like prison food... and penis."
from the movie "The Other Guys"
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
thecypher Avatar
169 months ago
I'm no anarchist but from my perspective, these folks did the world a huge favor. By exposing a security flaw without any malicious intentions, they have made use all a little safer from those who possess the same skills but use their powers for evil. So I tip my hats to them and would like to see the most lenient sentencing the law permits.

Sorry it doesn't work that way. Bottom line is they caused financial damage to a business. If their intention was not malicious and they were "only doing public service" as you think, they would have contacted AT&T and told them there is a flaw in their system. Which they didn't. Instead they chose to get name and fame (infamy in their case) and published hundreds of SIM IDs and email addresses on the Internet.

Agreed publishing email addresses seems benign. But the news article says there were several high profile personalities among that list and I am sure it affects them more than an average person. It is basically an invasion of privacy and I am glad they went after them and made an example out of them. People need to know they can't do crap like this because they don't have a life and nothing better to do and expect to get away with it.

This is no different than you or me breaking into a local convenience store just because they didn't lock their door before leaving for the night and publishing this information out causing them damage. Hey technically you and I didn't steal anything from the store. We just broke in and announced publicly that they don't lock their door at night which in turn made other crooks steal from the store and cause them financial damage. So are we responsible in any way? Hell yes!
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
djstile Avatar
169 months ago
He released the information, that's the difference.

Exactly. That's the problem, the hacker does (arguably) a "good" thing by exposing a security hole. Instead of being a Good Samaritan and doing something to help society in general, they post the information for the attention. Now Email addresses aren't NEARLY the same thing as credit card numbers or something, but the gov. should (and did) make a very tough stand against this sort of Cybercrime.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)