The business and culture of our digital lives,
from the L.A. Times

« Previous Post | Technology Home | Next Post »

Second man accused in AT&T iPad hacking indicted by federal grand jury

July 7, 2011 |  8:42 pm


One man in a duo accused of hacking AT&T servers and stealing the personal data of about 120,000 iPad users was indicted by a grand jury two weeks after his co-defendant pleaded guilty, Reuters reported.

Andrew Auernheimer, 25, of Fayetteville, Ark., was indicted by a Newark, N.J., grand jury Wednesday on one count of conspiracy to gain unauthorized access to computers and one count of identity theft, U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman's office told Reuters.

His co-defendant, Daniel Spitler, pleaded guilty June 23 to the same charges and is scheduled to be sentenced Sept. 28.

After Spitler pleaded, Fishman compared him to the hacker groups LulzSec and Anonymous. "Hacks have serious implications -- from the personal devastation of a stolen identity to danger to our national security," he said in a statement. "Daniel Spitler's guilty plea is a timely reminder of the consequences of treating criminal activity as a competitive sport."

The Justice Department accused the men of being members of Goatse Security, a group of hackers who attack various Web services and whose victims have included New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, ABC news anchor Diane Sawyer, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and various business executives. The name Goatse refers to a website with an explicit picture of a man who became a widely known Internet meme.

After Goatse Security received widespread media coverage for its attack on iPad users, the group posted a letter in June 2010 that explained the personal data it acquired was destroyed once the hack was done.

"When we disclosed this, we did it as a service to our nation," the letter said. "We love America and the idea of the Russians or Chinese being able to subvert American infrastructure is a nightmare."


Daniel Spitler, AT&T iPad hacker, compared to LulzSec, Anonymous by federal authorities

Critical vulnerability found in Apple's iPhone, iPad operating system

Facebook hires George Hotz, famed PlayStation 3 hacker known as Geohot

-- Shan Li

Photo: Andrew Auernheimer is seen in this police booking photograph taken by the Fayetteville, Arkansas Police Department June 15, 2010 and released January 18. Auernheimer was arrested on drug charges in Fayetteville Arkansas June 15. Credit: Fayetteville Police/Handout/Reuters.