In court filings, prosecutors described Aurenheimer as someone who not only took credit for the breach but also openly boasted about it to the media and others. They noted that Goatse Security often portrayed itself as a group of self-described Internet trolls bent on disrupting services and content on the Internet.
The federal complaint against the two defendants contained numerous excerpts of interviews with the media where Aurenheimer boasted of his hacking abilities and the disruption caused by those actions. One excerpt is from a 2008 interview with The New York Times where Auernheimer is quoted as saying, "I hack, I ruin, I make piles of money. I make people afraid for their lives."
The pre-sentencing memo filed by prosecutors last week noted that Auernheimer had at no point shown any remorse for his actions even after being convicted. They pointed to an interview with Gawker where Auernheimer had disparaged the judge as a "mean bitch" and had insisted that he felt absolutely no contrition over what he had done.
Auernheimer was found guilty in November on charges of conspiracy to access a computer without authorization and fraud in connection with personal information. Spitler pleaded guilty to similar charges and is awaiting sentencing.
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.
Read more about cybercrime and hacking in Computerworld's Cybercrime and Hacking Topic Center.