Criminal charges filed against AT&T iPad attackers

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) will file criminal charges against the alleged attackers who copied personal information from the AT&T network of approximately 120,000 iPad users, the U.S. Attorney's Office, District of New Jersey announced Monday.

Daniel Spitler will be charged in U.S. District Court in New Jersey with one count of conspiracy to access a computer without authorization and one count of fraud. Andrew Auernheimer will be charged with the same counts at the U.S. Western District Court of Arkansas, which is in Fayetteville.

Auernheimer made headlines last June when he discovered that AT&T's website was disclosing the e-mail addresses and the unique ICC-ID numbers of multiple iPad owners. Claiming that he wanted to help AT&T improve its security, he wrote a computer script to extract the data from AT&T and then went public with the information. AT&T said that nobody from Auernheimer's hacking group contacted it about the flaw.

"We believe what we did was ethical," Auernheimer told Computerworld last June. "What we did was right."

Auernheimer was arrested Tuesday at an Arkansas courthouse, where he'd been facing drug possession charges. Those charges have now been dropped, said John Threet, a prosecutor in Washington County, Arkansas, via e-mail.

Paul J. Fishman, U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey, will lead a press conference Monday at 12:30 p.m. Eastern Time to formally announce the charges.

Joab Jackson covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Joab on Twitter at @Joab_Jackson. Joab's e-mail address is Joab_Jackson@idg.com

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