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 newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags cybercrimeApplelegalhardware systemsconsumer electronicsat&t

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

Robert McMillan

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?