NJ jury convicts NY man in iPad data breach case

Associated Press Modified: November 20, 2012 at 8:15 pm •  Published: November 20, 2012
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NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — A federal jury on Tuesday convicted a man of illegally gaining access to AT&T's servers and stealing more than 120,000 email addresses of iPad users including New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and film mogul Harvey Weinstein.

Andrew Auernheimer, of New York, was convicted of identity theft and conspiracy to gain unauthorized access to computers. Each count carries a maximum prison sentence of five years.

Prosecutors said the former Fayetteville, Ark., resident was part of an online group that tricked AT&T's website into divulging email addresses including those of Bloomberg, Weinstein, then-White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, who's now Chicago's mayor, and other celebrities.

The group then shared the addresses with the website Gawker, which published them in redacted form accompanying a news article about the breach, prosecutors said.

A second man arrested with Auernheimer early last year, Daniel Spitler, of San Francisco, pleaded guilty that June.

At the time of the arrests, U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman said there was no evidence the men used the swiped information for criminal purposes. But authorities cautioned that it could have wound up in the hands of spammers and scam artists.

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