A U.S. District Court Judge sentenced a hacker to prison for 41 months, the latest part of the U.S. government’s crackdown on cybercrime.
Andrew Auernheimer, a 27-year-old New York-based hacker, received the sentence following an incident from June 2010, where he and partner Daniel Spitler took advantage of a security flaw in AT&T’s website to extract email addresses and ID numbers for 120,000 iPads on AT&T’s network.
He and Spitler took the list to Gawker, who ran them, in an effort to raise their own profile as hackers and to promote their cyber security group, Goatse Security. As the law closed in on them, though, the pair changed their admittedly arrogant tune and started claiming that they were simply trying to help AT&T, by letting them know about the security flaw without harming anyone.
AT&T begged to differ, claiming that they had spent $73,000 on informing customers that their information had been compromised, which Auernheimer and Spitler have to reimburse them for.
The list of hacked information victims included such powerful figures as New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, ABC News’ Diane Sawyer, and former White House Chief of Staff and current Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel, which must have made it particularly easy to smash the poor, stupid hackers.
The U.S. attorney prosecuting the case, Paul J. Fishman, was not going to let the pair get away with the crime by playing innocent, as he explained in a release after the sentencing on Monday.
“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,” Fishman said. “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.”