Computer hacker sentenced to 41 months in prison

March 19, 2013

Noted computer hacker Andrew Auernheimer – AKA Weev – has been sentenced to 41 months in prison for his part in a high profile cybersecurity incident which occurred in mid-2010.

27-year-old Auernheimer was found guilty in November 2011 for hacking into the servers of telecommunications company AT&T and gaining access to the personal data of around 114,000 iPad users.

The verdict was controversial amongst the technology community as Auernheimer portrayed himself as a 'grey hat' hacker of sorts.

This meant that his behaviour fell somewhere between the malicious intentions of a 'black hat' hacker and the ethical hacking viewpoint of 'white hat' hackers.

In his official testimony, Auernheimer claimed that he had something of a "moral obligation", and a "motivation" to "comment and criticise large companies".

Auernheimer claimed to believe that he was acting under the best interests of the public and merely looking to highlight poor vulnerability management practices.

"It's sad that AT&T customers had to be, you know, had to be notified that their company put them at risk. But it's better than not knowing," said Auernheimer during the initial trial.

Auernheimer had originally pledged to appeal the verdict; however he was unsuccessful in this attempt and was officially sentenced on March 17 by US district judge Susan Wigenton in Newark.

US attorney Paul Fishman has refuted Auernheimer's claims that he was trying to improve the overall security of the internet.

"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," said Mr Fishman in a statement.

"The jury didn't buy it, and neither did the court in imposing sentence."

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