AT&T iPad hacker pleads guilty

Last year, he helped obtain 120,000 iPad users' e-mail addresses and other information

A 26-year-old man who last year helped hackers publish personal information belonging to about 120,000 iPad users pleaded guilty to fraud and hacking charges in a New Jersey court Thursday.

Daniel Spitler pleaded guilty in federal court to two felony charges, according to Rebekah Carmichael, a spokeswoman with the U.S. Department of Justice. He faces a maximum of 10 years in prison on the charges, but his plea agreement recommends a 12- to 18-month sentence.

He is one of two men charged in the June 2010 incident that embarrassed Apple and AT&T and brought the hacking group, Goatse Security, international attention. The other man, Andrew Auernheimer, is still in negotiations over a plea agreement, according to court records. Both men are facing charges in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey.

At the time of the incident, Goatse hackers claimed that they were merely trying to make AT&T aware of a security issue on its website. They discovered that anyone could query the site and learn the e-mail addresses and unique ICC-ID (integrated circuit card identifier) numbers belonging to the iPad users.

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 group uncovered e-mail addresses belonging to members of the military, politicians and business leaders including New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel.

The incident became a huge embarrassment for AT&T after Auernheimer and Spitler handed their findings over to a reporter at Gawker.com.

In interviews after the hack, Auernheimer said his group had notified AT&T about the issue. But online chat logs filed in court by the prosecution cast doubt on that claim. "[Y]ou DID call tech support right?" asked one hacker, named Nstyr, in a chat log excerpt obtained by prosecutors. "[T]otally but not really," Auernheimer replied. "[I] don't... care [I] hope they sue me."

Robert McMillan covers computer security and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Robert on Twitter at @bobmcmillan. Robert's e-mail address is robert_mcmillan@idg.com

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Appleconsumer electronicssecurityat&tlegalhardware systemscybercrime

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Robert McMillan

IDG News Service

Most Popular Reviews

Follow Us

Best Deals on GoodGearGuide

Shopping.com

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Latest Jobs

Shopping.com

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?