AT&T iPad Security Breach Hacker Sentenced to 41 Months in Prison

172558 ipad 3g badgeAndrew Auernheimer, one of the hackers behind the release of email addresses of 114,000 iPad users back in 2010, has been sentenced to 41 months in prison following his conviction on one count of identity fraud and one count of 'conspiracy to access a computer without authorization'.

In November, Auernheimer was found guilty on one count of identity fraud and one count of conspiracy to access a computer without authorization. Following his release from prison, Auernheimer will be subject to three years of supervised release. Auernheimer and co-defendant Daniel Spitler were also ordered to pay $73,000 in restitution to AT&T. The pre-sentencing report prepared by prosecutors recommended four years in federal prison.

There is quite a bit of consternation among tech commentators about the appropriateness of a sentence of more than three years in prison for accessing AT&T servers without actually entering a password or directly compromising a system.

Instead, Auernheimer and his partner Daniel Spitler (who pled guilty and received a 12-18 month sentence) wrote a script to guess the identifying numbers of the iPad's SIM card and faked out AT&T's website until it returned the email address connected to said SIM cards. The email addresses of thousands of high-profile iPad users were leaked, including private addresses of Mayor Michael Bloomberg, then White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, and ABC News journalist Diane Sawyer.

It appears that Auernheimer's antagonistic attitude and lack of contrition contributed to the lengthy sentence, including running a Reddit Ask Me Anything thread the night before his sentencing where he said he wanted to get elected to Congress because Congressional Immunity would allow him to release hacks on the floor of Congress with no repercussions.

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

Top Rated Comments

indychris Avatar
127 months ago
Shows how far into the government's pockets these large corporations are. You would likely get less time for burglary or GBH. Heck, some rapists have gotten less time over here :(.

Sounds like you have sympathy for a guy who could wreck peoples' lives via identity theft. I have no sympathy whatsoever for this twerp. While I would love nothing more than to see bureaucratic nannies like Bloomberg and Emanuel taken down a notch, the truth is people like Auernheimer are a huge threat to all of us, and it needs to be demonstrated that identity theft simply can not be tolerated and will be punished harshly.

Personally, I hope during his stay at the Gray Bar Hotel, they completely eliminate any and all access to computer technology so that he can't find ways to continue to invoke havoc on others.
Score: 23 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Medic311 Avatar
127 months ago
hacking email addresses of iPad owners - 41 months of hard prison
destroying people's lives by lying about AAA ratings on junk mortgage securities and plunging this country into a recession we have yet to fully recover from...priceless.

heck, those 2 Ohio teens who raped that 16 yr old girl only got 1 year.

the punishment does not fit the crime. if anything, this guy did AT&T a favor. imagine if it was the Chinese government who hacked the system. they would have exposed A LOT more than just an email list. let's face it - the only reason why the sentence was longer was b/c he happened to expose the email addresses of the rich and powerful elite. if he only exposed regular joe-shmoe's like all of us here we wouldn't even hear about it in the news and minimal effort would be spent on the prosecution. it's like that state-wide manhunt for Christopher Dorner. if cops weren't injured or killed, not even a fraction of the effort would have been spent to look for him. but as soon as cops are involved, they use more resources than otherwise.

look - the guy was in the wrong. hacking and obtaining information that is not your's is stealing. however his theft did not result in anything except inconvenience for these high profile elitists. he did not obtain information that resulted in a security threat, nor did he obtain information that could be used to create a security threat. knowing the email address of Bloomberg doesn't give you the ability to hack him - heck his friends and coworkers have his email address.

this is absolutely ridiculous. no wonder he doesn't give a ***** about the system and said the things that he said. there is no way he will actually serve the full 41 month sentence either. this was just a publicity stunt for the prosecution to show the elitists and the news media that if you inconvenience them you will get the maximum sentence. once the spotlight moves onto the next big thing, this guy will get out very early
Score: 20 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Brian Y Avatar
127 months ago
Shows how far into the government's pockets these large corporations are. You would likely get less time for burglary or GBH. Heck, some rapists have gotten less time over here :(.
Score: 20 Votes (Like | Disagree)
krye Avatar
127 months ago
Hacking is hacking. Whether or not he entered a password or compromised another machine is irrelevant. May this serve as a lesson to all the other hackers that try to do stuff with other people's computers.

This is the cyber version of breaking and entering. You can't just walk into someone's house and have a look around. You can't use the argument that they left the front door open either. You just don't do it.
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
melgross Avatar
127 months ago
Long enough?

Not only do I like this sentence, but I would like it even more if it were longer. I don't understand the attitude here of some people who think this is no big deal. It IS a big deal.
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Doc750 Avatar
127 months ago
Selling crack to junior high school kids gets you less time.
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

Emergency SOS via Satellite iPhone YT

Apple's iPhone 14 Emergency SOS via Satellite Feature Saves Stranded Man in Alaska

Thursday December 1, 2022 4:37 pm PST by
With the launch of iOS 16.1, Apple rolled out a Emergency SOS via Satellite, which is designed to allow iPhone 14 owners to contact emergency services using satellite connectivity when no cellular or WiFi connection is available. The feature was put to the test in Alaska today, when a man became stranded in a rural area. In the early hours of the morning on December 1, Alaska State Troopers ...
General iOS 16 Feature Yellow

iOS 16.2 for iPhone Launching This Month With These 8 New Features

Thursday December 1, 2022 8:44 am PST by
Apple plans to publicly release iOS 16.2 for the iPhone in mid-December, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. The update remains in beta testing for now, with at least eight new features and changes already uncovered so far. iOS 16.2 introduces a number of new features, including Apple's new whiteboard app Freeform, two new Lock Screen widgets for Sleep and Medications, the ability to hide...
iOS 16

Apple Releases iOS 16.1.2 With Carrier Improvements and Crash Detection Optimizations

Wednesday November 30, 2022 10:09 am PST by
Apple today released iOS 16.1.2, another minor bug fix update that comes one week after the release of iOS 16.1.1 and three weeks after the launch of iOS 16.1, an update that added support for iCloud Shared Photo Library, Matter, Live Activities, and more. The iOS 16.1.2 update can be downloaded on eligible iPhones over-the-air by going to Settings > General > Software Update. According...
iPad 10 Battery Pull Tabs

iPad 10 Teardown Reveals Why Device Isn't Compatible With Apple Pencil 2

Thursday December 1, 2022 10:48 am PST by
Do-it-yourself repair website iFixit today shared a video teardown of Apple's new 10th-generation iPad, providing a closer look inside the tablet and revealing why the device lacks support for the second-generation Apple Pencil. The teardown reveals the internal layout of the iPad, including its two-cell 7,606 mAh battery, logic board with the A14 Bionic chip, and more. As suspected, the...
iOS 16

When Will iOS 16.2 Be Released?

Friday December 2, 2022 2:13 pm PST by
Apple in late October began testing iOS 16.2 and iPadOS 16.2 updates, providing betas to both developers and public beta testers. As of now, we've had four total betas, with the fourth beta having been released earlier this week. iOS 16.2 and iPadOS 16.2 are expected before the end of the year, and we thought we'd try to narrow down the launch timeline. With only four betas released since...
14 vs 16 inch mbp m2 pro and max feature 1

Major RAM Upgrade Coming to Next-Generation MacBook Pro

Friday December 2, 2022 2:03 am PST by
The next-generation MacBook Pro models could feature faster RAM, according to a recent report from a reliable source. MacRumors Forums member "Amethyst," who accurately revealed details about the Mac Studio and Studio Display before those products were announced, recently provided information about Apple's upcoming 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pro models. The new machines are expected to feature...
iOS 16

Apple Still Has These 5 Things to Release Heading Into 2023

Thursday December 1, 2022 7:12 am PST by
The calendar has turned to December and that means Apple has only one month left to fulfill its promises of releasing an Apple Music Classical app and expanding its self-service repair program to Europe before the end of 2022. Delays are always possible, of course, so the plans could be pushed back to 2023. In any case, we have put together a list of five things that Apple still has to release...
iOS 16

Apple Seeds Fourth Betas of iOS 16.2 and iPadOS 16.2 [Update: Public Beta Available]

Thursday December 1, 2022 10:16 am PST by
Apple today seeded the fourth betas of upcoming iOS 16.2 and iPadOS 16.2 updates to developers for testing purposes, with the betas coming two weeks after Apple seeded the third betas of iOS 16.2 and iPadOS 16.2. Registered developers are able to download the iOS 16‌.2 and iPadOS 16.2 profiles from the Apple Developer Center, and once installed, the beta is available over the air. iOS...
iPhone Measure Height

Newer iPhones Allow You to Measure Someone's Height Instantly — Here's How

Saturday December 3, 2022 10:23 am PST by
iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max, iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max, and iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max models feature a LiDAR Scanner next to the rear camera that can be used to measure a person's height instantly in Apple's preinstalled Measure app. To measure a person's height, simply open the Measure app, point your iPhone at the person you want to measure, and make sure they are visible on the screen from...
apple ar headset concept 2

Apple Now Calling AR/VR Headset Operating System 'xrOS'

Thursday December 1, 2022 12:57 pm PST by
Apple has decided to call the software that will run on its upcoming AR/VR headset "xrOS," an update from the original "RealityOS or "rOS" naming the company was planning on, according to Bloomberg. Render created by Ian Zelbo based on rumored information The name change comes as Apple begins to prepare for the launch of the headset, which is expected at some point in 2023. The headset will...