Hacker pleads guilty to stealing iPad user data

iPad HackerA hacker today admitted to stealing personal information and email addresses from about 114,000 users of Apple’s iPad. According to a press release issued by U.S. prosecutors in New Jersey, Daniel Spitler plead guilty today to identity theft and conspiracy to gain unauthorized access to computers. The 26-year old San Francisco-born hacker faces up to five years in prison for each count and a $250,000 fine. He’s scheduled to be sentenced on September 28. Andrew Auernheimer, Spitler’s alleged cohort, is still facing charges.

“Computer hackers are exacting an increasing toll on our society, damaging individuals and organizations to gain notoriety for themselves,” U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman said in a statment.

“Hacks have serious implications – from the personal devastation of a stolen identity to danger to our national security,” Fishman continued. “In the wake of other recent hacking attacks by loose-knit organizations like Anonymous and LulzSec, Daniel Spitler’s guilty plea is a timely reminder of the consequences of treating criminal activity as a competitive sport.”

According to authorities, Spitler and Auernheimer wrote a program that targeted a security weakness in AT&T’s servers and allowed the pair to mine personal data from users of Apple’s 3G-ready iPad. Included in the purloined data were the email addresses of heads of major corporations, government officials and celebrities. Spitler and Auernheimer delivered the data to the blog Gawker, which published it in a redacted form, causing no shortage of embarrassment for AT&T.

According to prosecutors, Spitler and Auernheimer were members of a loose confederation of hackers that operated under the name Goatse. Spitler reportedly confessed to being a member of the group as part of his guilty plea. Auernheimer left police custody in March after posting $50,000 bail.

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