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Man Convicted For Helping Thousands Steal Internet Access 378

Posted by samzenpus
from the free-web dept.
angry tapir writes "An Oregon man has been convicted of seven courts of wire fraud for helping thousands of people steal Internet service. Ryan Harris, 26, of Redmond, Oregon, was convicted by a jury in U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts. He faces a prison term of up to 20 years and a fine of up to $250,000 on each of the seven counts."
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Man Convicted For Helping Thousands Steal Internet Access

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  • Bad design (Score:5, Interesting)

    by xenobyte (446878) on Monday March 05, 2012 @03:26AM (#39245065)

    If this guy could build a business, complete with websites, forums and so on, it must have gone on for quite a while (6 years it turns out), so it is obvious that:

    1) The ISP didn't know enough about their business to realize the giant holes this guy was exploiting.
    2) The ISP was incompetent enough to let this guy and his customers steal service (which the ISP's other customers paid for) for a long time.

    Any sentencing here should include a heavy fine to the ISP for technical incompetence.

  • by dutchwhizzman (817898) on Monday March 05, 2012 @03:54AM (#39245177)
    Writing tools to configure cable modems is what he got convicted for. He just wrote some tools so you could BOOTP your cable modem with a "valid" MAC and uncapped access speed. The cable companies knew they were putting the security in the dynamically configured end user device. They didn't fix the security flaw after it was publicly known. All the guy did was write an exploit for a publicly known bug, others (end users) were the ones that abused it.

    Oh well, at least now there is jurisprudence to put gun manufacturers into jail. After all, they make the tools that others use to commit crimes, which is what this guy is going to do hard time for.
  • Re:Bad design (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Asic Eng (193332) on Monday March 05, 2012 @04:01AM (#39245209)

    Well, from the description it appears the guy was selling modified cable modems to sniff data on the coax line and enabling the user to change MAC addresses etc. This [coaxthief.com] would seem to indicate that the device would operate with several configuration sets - maybe switching those on the fly depending whether they were already in use. This way the users' modems would be able to replicate the access data of other users.

    That could be prevented by using encryption for exchanging login data, but it's pretty hard to detect: You can't easily tell the difference between unauthorized access of user B with user A's login data, and user A who just happens to use the internet a lot. Also you wouldn't notice a few users doing that in one particular segment, the guys customers could be distributed all over the US:

  • by philip.paradis (2580427) on Monday March 05, 2012 @05:00AM (#39245467)

    I would agree with you on that if corporate CEOs and pretty much everyone who makes over a million dollars a year hadn't set the precedent that defrauding thousands of people at a time comes only with a slap on the wrist and a meager fine despite a huge profit margin.

    Two wrongs make a right. Gotcha. You must be some kind of rebel freedom fighter.

    Shit, that's the definition of how corporate America works. Why aren't they jailing the CEOs of the cable companies instead for charging >5000 times the amount they pay for bandwidth for the average user?

    They aren't being jailing them because nobody has proven in a court of law that they've broken any laws. Please feel free to demand charges be pressed if you feel they're warranted. Maybe a few desperate law students can help you figure out a way to trump some charges up.

    On a related note, I was born in 1981. I probably grew up in the same culture you did, and still have admiration for things like The Conscience of a Hacker [ghostwheel.com]. That said, you sure as shit ain't the guy that wrote that, nor are you really anything to write home about in terms of that culture. I ran a BBS here and there from the time I was a kid into my teens, and did some stuff that I'm pretty glad the statute of limitations has run out on around the same time. Looking back, the shady side of the stuff I did was utterly fucking stupid.

    It's all ass-backward, and this guy just had the balls to do something about it. Do your time, but do it proudly.

    Nobody does their time proudly, you dumb fuck, aside from people who have legitimately dodged grenades and slit throats for their country only to get locked up in some overseas shithole because they had the bad luck to get caught in the process (or similar scenario; go ahead and try to equate that to the crap you're defending here, I dare you). Have you ever been to a county jail, let alone served a prison term? I've got a brother who's done both; I'll be going to pick him up again when he gets released (again) next month. He's a tough son of a bitch, literally did UFC trial fights and failed to lose before getting his ass locked up again and screwing that opportunity (one of oh so many) up too. He'll be happy to demonstrate the finer points of correctional living to you if you need some help understanding it. I'll bet dollars to your nutsuck you wouldn't last 15 minutes in a drunk tank. Shit, put me in there with you, let's find out just to get it over with.

    In short, I think you most likely fall into the wannabe vigilante category, and you probably stopped maturing around 14. Get a fucking life, and go do something about the stuff you're bitching about. Namely, go do something innovative to improve the situation, or shut the fuck up.

  • by Xacid (560407) on Monday March 05, 2012 @08:17AM (#39246177) Journal

    Conversely, the fella I worked with was very practical about the topic. Basically I can afford up to X but I'd be eating only ramen and wiping with newspaper. For every increment lower that I could get to would increase my quality of life so either make more money or find something significantly cheaper than X. And hell, I was 23 at the time.

    Oh, and the bank - Bank of America oddly enough. Incidentally that guy doesn't work there anymore. He moved back to Sweden. Probably saw the writing on the wall, heh.

  • by roman_mir (125474) on Monday March 05, 2012 @09:03AM (#39246435) Homepage Journal

    You nicely summarized the root cause of the collapse of housing markets across the US

    - that is NOT the root cause, that was an expected symptom based on the real root cause, which was government easy credit to the banks (they did push it down all the way to 1% for Clinton and 0% for Bush and it's there now too) and all of the mandates, that had government and quasi government agencies 'insuring' variable rate mortgages, liar loans, all of that stuff. At the time of Clinton and Bush it was mostly F&F, now it's mostly FHA, which 'insures' over 1Trillion with only 5Billion assets.

    Of-course all of this 'insurance', just like all other 'insurance' that government provides is not insurance. It's all debt and counterfeiting (hail the Fed).

    People saw this coming [youtube.com] miles away [youtube.com].

  • by walterbyrd (182728) on Monday March 05, 2012 @10:02AM (#39246931)

    I don't think most people get that kind of a sentence for murder.

    I saw one case on this "I Survived" show they have on Biography channel: a woman shot her husband six times in the chest, and she was sentenced to six days for aggravated assault. Six days for unloading a gun into somebody's chest, 20 years for stealing internet; what a wonderful justice system we have.

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