U.S. computer hacker gets 3-1/2 years for stealing iPad user data

“A computer hacker was sentenced on Monday to three years and five months in prison for stealing the personal data of about 120,000 Apple Inc iPad users, including big-city mayors, a TV network news anchor and a Hollywood movie mogul,” Jonathan Stempel reports for Reuters.

“Andrew Auernheimer, 27, had been convicted in November by a Newark, New Jersey, jury of one count of conspiracy to access AT&T Inc servers without permission, and one count of identity theft,” Stempel reports. “Among those affected by Auernheimer’s activities were ABC News anchor Diane Sawyer, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Hollywood movie producer Harvey Weinstein, prosecutors said.”

Stempel reports, “This stolen information was then provided to the website Gawker, which published an article naming well-known people whose emails had been compromised, prosecutors said… Gawker was not charged in the case.”

Read more in the full article here.

Related articles:
AT&T-iPad hackers’ site hacked – January 27, 2011
Two charged by U.S. prosecutors over iPad hacking via AT&T network – January 18, 2011
U.S. investigators set to press criminal charges over theft of AT&T iPad users’ personal info – January 18, 2011
AT&T apologizes for iPad email breach, blames ‘malicious hackers’ – June 14, 2010


  1. I get so confused. Theft is illegal when committed by an individual, but not illegal when committed by a corporation. I think that’s what it all comes down to.

    1. What is even more confusing is this case. Guy found the flaw, reported it, they did nothing, he went public, he now gets to go to jail. Clearly he was doing a better job than their people.

      This ‘Justice’ is a joke. We need laws that make a corporations like AT&T liable when they expose customer data like this. It should be considered criminal negligence. Fines should be levied, people should go to jail.

    2. I turned all privacy setting to max, yet Google “hacked” Safari to steal my personal info and track my Internet activity. Where is justice? Who at Google is in prison?

  2. “Gawker was not charged in the case.”

    They should have been. Its called California Penal Code 496 Possession of Stolen Property.

    There’s no way they could not have known that the information was stolen. There’s no way that way a reasonable person would believe it was not stolen.

    But they accept it anyway, then published it furthering the the crime.

    1. See my post above, research the actual case you vigilante jerk.

      AT&T exposed all the data, they had the gaping hole. He tried to get it fixed, they ignored it, he went public, they had him arrested for his trouble.

      The people facing your rage should be AT&T, not the grey hat.

      1. But he DIDN’T just reveal a security hole. He stole a pile of private data. “Honest officer, I only stole the money from the bank to reveal a security hole.” Even if that was 100% purely his motive, the stupidity is astounding.

    1. Yup. Hey was defiant up to the last second before he went to prison. Let’s see how defiant he is in 3 1/2 years. Let’s see if he’s cocky then or still has one in his ass as he walks out the gate.

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