OptusNet hacker guilty, hacking labelled 'intellectual pursuit'

NSW Police have scored a pyrrhic victory over the hacking of Internet service provider OptusNet with a Bankstown (Sydney) man proven guilty of two counts of unauthorised modification of data with intent to cause impairment before the New South Wales District Court.

Stephen Craig Dendtler, a 22-year-old software engineer, was released without fine or bond with no conviction recorded after the court heard that he had engaged in an "intellectual pursuit" with no real harm being caused despite him gaining access to the personal details of several thousand OptusNet customers through a "back-door" in the system.

Dendtler's defence argued that although his actions were illegal, it was akin to "getting into the vault of a bank and taking nothing". Asked by Magistrate Bill Pearce why Dendtler did such a thing, his defence counsel said "because it was there". The court heard that after entering the OptusNet system Dendtler posted the words "yippee, I did it".

The court also heard that Dendtler had used the humble family PC to commit the acts. Magistrate Pearce asked, "When dad's computer breaks down, does he fix it"? Dendtler¹s counsel replied that his parents were not altogether happy because the family PC had been forfeited to the police in the course of the investigation. No technical details were given of the family PC other than it was "not state of the art".

Visibly disappointed by lack of any penalty being imposed, the informant in the matter Detective Senior Constable Frank Schillero said in his personal opinion the decision sent "the wrong message" and left organisations "more vulnerable" to such attacks.

It is unknown whether the DPP will appeal the decision.

Join the newsletter!


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

Julian Bajkowski

Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill


I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?