How Cutting-Edge Technology & Science Are Powering The Future TPM Idealab
Daniel Spitler, 26, of San Francisco waived his right to an indictment by a grand jury and pled guilty to planning and executing an attack on AT&T's servers in New Jersey, and then accessing and sending thousands of e-mail addresses on those servers to the web site Gawker, according to the New Jersey U.S. Attorney's office.
Spitler had planned the attack along with co-defendant Andrew Auernheimer, 25 of Fayetteville, Arkansas, according to the US Attorney's office.
Among those whose e-mail addresses were compromised included Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel (who was White House chief of staff at the time,) Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and ABC World News Anchor Diane Sawyer.
Spitler was charged with the break-in along with Andrew Auernheimer in January. They were part of a group calling themselves Goatse Security.
The hackers had written a script they called the "iPad 3G Account Slurper," and launched it against AT&T's servers and harvested the e-mails.
Unfortunately for the hackers, federal law enforcement authorities managed to get access to their online chat logs after the incident, in which they discussed destroying the evidence of their actions, according to the US Attorney in New Jersey.
Spitler will be sentenced at the end of September. He faces a maximum of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman, whose New Jersey office pursued the case, used the occasion to broadcast a message to the hacking community.
"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," Fishman said in a press statement.