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AHH 24-Hr. News

IMAGE Oceanic Bridge Maintenance Work to Begin Monday, Feb. 2
Friday, 30 January 2015
Photo: Oceanic Bridge. credit: goboatingnj.org   MIDDLETOWN, NJ – The Oceanic Bridge (S-31) over the NavesinkRiver will undergo repair work to the structural steel and concrete deck beginning on or about 9 a.m. Monday, Feb. 2. To complete the... Read More...
IMAGE Brookdale Board Approves 3.4 Percent Tuition Increase
Friday, 30 January 2015
LINCROFT, NJ – The Brookdale Community College Board of Trustees voted on Jan. 29 to approve a 3.4 percent tuition increase at the college for the 2015-16 school year. For a full-time student taking 30 credits per year, the change would mean an... Read More...
IMAGE Attempted Abduction of 11-Year-Old Girl in Highlands
Friday, 30 January 2015
IMAGE: Google Street View. HIGHLANDS, NJ - A Highlands mother reports that her daughter was approached by an older man in a black SUV in the vicinity of Welsh Farms on Bay Avenue in the borough this afternoon around 3:15 p.m. The girl was asked to... Read More...
AAA Reminds Motorists: Be the Ref of the Party - Designate a Driver
Friday, 30 January 2015
Hamilton, NJ – This Sunday, Super Bowl XLIX will kick off in Arizona, but closer to home, people will gather to watch the game with family and friends. AAA urges fans to prepare for the big game by designating a sober driver or arranging for... Read More...
IMAGE MC Park System Offers 2015 Trails Team Training
Friday, 30 January 2015
PHOTO: The Monmouth County Park System’s Volunteer Trails Team in action.  LINCROFT, NJ — Love the Monmouth County Park System’s 130+ miles of trails and interested in becoming part of the Park System’s Trails Team? Head to the... Read More...

Columns

IMAGE Observations on a MLK Celebration
by George Hancock-Stefan
Friday, 30 January 2015
On Monday, January 19, 2015 I went to a service honoring Martin Luther King, Jr. I went for multiple reasons. I went to honor a great American and... Read More...
IMAGE Worst Storm Ever? (What’s up widat?)
by Woody Zimmerman
Thursday, 29 January 2015
Somehow – no doubt largely due to the vigilance and timely warnings supplied by our political and media guardians – we have managed to survive... Read More...
IMAGE Review - Into The Woods
by David Prown
Wednesday, 28 January 2015
I saw the Broadway version of "Into the Woods" in the 80's with Bernadette Peters just a few days after I saw "Les Miserables" with the original... Read More...
IMAGE Protest This Super Bowl Commercial
by Anne Mikolay
Tuesday, 27 January 2015
Sunday, February 1, the New England Patriots will face off against the Seattle Seahawks in NFL Super Bowl XLIX. Football fans will tune in to see the... Read More...
IMAGE What’s that Flock in the Bay?
by Joe Reynolds
Sunday, 25 January 2015
This was a week of counting wintering water-birds. The other day I looked out onto New York Harbor and saw a large raft of diving ducks. I counted at... Read More...

NEWARK, NJ—The head of a self-described “security research” hacking group was sentenced today to 41 months in prison for breaching AT&T’s servers, stealing e-mail addresses and other personal information belonging to approximately 120,000 Apple iPad users, and disclosing that information to an Internet magazine, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.

Andrew Auernheimer, 27, of New York, was convicted November 20, 2012, on both counts of a superseding indictment: conspiracy to access AT&T’s servers without authorization and disclose that information to a reporter at Gawker magazine and possession and transfer of means of identification for more than 120,000 iPad users. Auernheimer was tried before U.S. District Judge Susan D. Wigenton, who imposed the sentence today in Newark federal court. His co-conspirator, Daniel Spitler, 27, of San Francisco, California, previously pleaded guilty to the same charges and is awaiting sentencing.

“Andrew Auernheimer knew he was breaking the law when he and his partner hacked into AT&T’s servers and stole personal information from unsuspecting iPad users,” U.S. Attorney Fishman said. “When it became clear that he was in trouble, he concocted the fiction that he was trying to make the Internet more secure and that all he did was walk in through an unlocked door. The jury didn’t buy it, and neither did the court in imposing sentence upon him today.”

“Auernheimer coordinated a self-serving cyber attack on a United States corporation and tens of thousands of innocent customers, in order to promote his business,” FBI Acting Special Agent in Charge David Velazquez said. “Immediately after the attack he attempted to hide all the evidence. Auernheimer’s conviction and today’s sentence signifies the continued and growing efforts of the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the FBI in investigating and prosecuting computer hacking and intellectual property crimes.”

According to documents filed in this case and the evidence at trial:

The iPad is a touch-screen tablet computer, developed and marketed by Apple Computers Inc., that allows users to, among other things, access the Internet and send and receive e-mail. Since its introduction in January 2010, AT&T has provided iPad users with Internet connectivity via AT&T’s 3G wireless network. During the registration process for subscribing to the network, a user is required to provide an e-mail address, billing address, and password.

Prior to mid-June 2010, AT&T automatically linked an iPad 3G user’s e-mail address to the Integrated Circuit Card Identifier (ICC-ID), a number unique to the user’s iPad, when he or she registered. Every time a user accessed the AT&T website, the ICC-ID was recognized and the e-mail address was automatically populated for faster, user-friendly access to the site. AT&T kept the ICC-IDs and associated e-mail addresses confidential.

At that time, when an iPad 3G communicated with AT&T’s website, its ICC-ID was automatically displayed in the Universal Resource Locator, or URL, of the AT&T website in plain text. Seeing this, and discovering that each ICC-ID was connected to an iPad 3G user e-mail address, hackers wrote a script termed the “iPad 3G Account Slurper” and deployed it against AT&T’s servers.

The Account Slurper attacked AT&T’s servers for several days in early June 2010 and was designed to harvest as many ICC-ID/e-mail address pairings as possible. It worked by mimicking the behavior of an iPad 3G so that AT&T’s servers would be deceived into granting the Account Slurper access. Once deployed, the Account Slurper used a process known as a “brute force” against the servers, randomly guessing at ranges of ICC-IDs. An incorrect guess was met with no additional information, while a correct guess was rewarded with an ICC-ID/e-mail pairing for a specific, identifiable iPad 3G user.

From June 5, 2010 through June 9, 2010, the Account Slurper stole for its hacker-authors approximately 120,000 ICC-ID/e-mail address pairings for iPad 3G customers.

Immediately following the theft, the hacker-authors of the Account Slurper provided the stolen e-mail addresses and ICC-IDs to the website Gawker, which published the stolen information in redacted form, along with an article concerning the breach. The article indicated that the breach “exposed the most exclusive e-mail list on the planet,” and named a number of famous individuals whose e-mails had been compromised, including Diane Sawyer, Harvey Weinstein, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and then-White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel. The article also stated that iPad users could be vulnerable to spam marketing and malicious hacking. A group calling itself “Goatse Security” was identified as obtaining the subscriber data.

Goatse Security is a so-called “security research” group, composed of Internet hackers, to which both Spitler and Auernheimer belonged.

During the data breach, co-defendant Daniel Spitler and Auernheimer communicated with one another using Internet Relay Chat, an Internet instant messaging program. Those chats not only demonstrated that Spitler and Auernheimer were responsible for the data breach, but also that they conducted the breach to simultaneously damage AT&T and promote themselves and Goatse Security. As the data breach continued, so, too, did the discussions between Spitler, Auernheimer, and other Goatse Security members about the best way to take advantage of the breach and associated theft. On June 10, 2010, immediately after going public with the breach, Spitler and Auernheimer discussed destroying evidence of their crime.

In addition to the prison term, Judge Wigenton sentenced Auernheimer to three years of supervised release and ordered him to pay restitution of $73,162.

U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Acting Special Agent in Charge David Velazquez in Newark, with the investigation leading to the charges. He also thanked special agents of the FBI, under the direction of then-Special Agent in Charge Valerie Parlave in Little Rock, Arkansas, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Arkansas, under the direction of U.S. Attorney William Conner Eldridge.

The government is represented by Executive Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Martinez and Assistant U.S. Attorney Zach Intrater of the Computer Hacking and Intellectual Property Section of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Economic Crimes Unit.