Two weeks after co-defendant Daniel Spitler pleaded guilty to hacking into AT&T servers and stealing personal data belonging to 120,000 Apple Inc iPad users, Andrew Auernheimer has been assigned his day in court.
Auernheimer was charged by a Newark, New Jersey grand jury with one count of conspiracy to gain unauthorised access to computers and one count of identity theft.
The office of U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman in New Jersey told Reuters that these were the same charges that Spitler admited. Spitler could face a 12- to 18-month prison term at his sentencing, which is scheduled for September 28.
Prosecutors claimed that Auernheimer and Spitler of using an account slurper to conduct a brute force attack over five days last June to extract data about iPad users who used the internet through AT&T’s network.
Both worked with a hacker group called Goatse Security, who were “self-professed internet ‘trolls'” who like to disrupt online content and services.
During the indictment, the Jury heard conversations in which Auernheimer is said to be discussing the hacking.
“If we get one reporter’s address with this somehow we instantly have a story,” it said he wrote to Spitler on June 6, 2010. “HI I STOLE YOUR EMAIL FROM AT&&T WANT TO KNOW HOW?”
The next day, Spitler told him that data on more than 100,000 accounts had been accessed, and Auernheimer said “the more email addresses we get … the more of a freakout we can cause.”