Prosecutors also highlighted how Auernheimer, in a video posted on his website, boasted how he had caused a one billion change in Amazon.com's market capitalization through his trolling activities. "So a billion dollars changed hands as a result of my trolling and I'm very, very glad to know such insignificant things on the Internet can have such a drastic, far reaching effects."
Prosecutors presented several chat transcripts between Auernheimer and Spitler to bolster their claim that the two hackers extracted the data to attract publicity to their activities, and to promote themselves within the hacker community and the media at large.
In Wednesday's pre-sentencing memo, Auernheimer's lawyers sought leniency on the grounds that the exploit did not cause any damage to AT&T. They noted that the two hacker had not subverted any passwords or used any malware to gain access to the data. They disputed AT&Ts claim that the incident had cost the company more than $73,000.
In their memo, Auernheimer's layers noted that the costs AT&T incurred were related to the company's duplicative efforts to notify affected iPad users of the compromise. The company had already informed the affected users by email of the incident but then needlessly followed them up with a mailed notification, they claimed.
The memo quotes an AT&T investigator as saying he believe no case existed because the breach did not involve any circumvention of AT&T's security controls. Rather it merely exploited a poorly implemented feature on AT&T's networks that allowed the data to be easily acceesed.
Jaikumar Vijayan covers data security and privacy issues, financial services security and e-voting for Computerworld. Follow Jaikumar on Twitter at @jaivijayan or subscribe to Jaikumar's RSS feed. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
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