Feeds

Hacker charged in $1m cable ISP customer cloning scheme

MAC spoofing biz flourished for six years

SANS - Survey on application security programs

Federal prosecutors have charged a California man with earning $1m over a six-year period by illegally selling products that allowed customers to get high-speed internet service for free.

Ryan Harris, 26, of San Diego sold software and hardware that were designed to fool Charter Communications and other internet service providers into believing the gear belonged to paying customers, the prosecutors allege. Harris and his employees also offered technical support in publicly available chat forums at tcniso.net, the website belonging to their modem-hacking business.

The hack worked by spoofing the media access control address that acts as an electronic serial number for each modem. By replacing the unique address with one known to belong to a paying subscriber, Harris's customers were able to obtain internet service for free. Over time, his company offered additional services. One allowed users to increase their bandwidth while another made it possible to detect the MAC addresses of legitimate paying ISP subscribers.

From 2003 to earlier this year, TCNISO, as Harris's company was called, generated revenue of more than $1m, according to documents filed in US District Court in Boston.

In addition to allowing customers to obtain internet service without paying for it, TCNISO allowed users to surf anonymously. Among those taking advantage of that benefit was a juvenile hacker who went by the moniker Dshocker. Last year, he admitted to carrying out crippling denial-of-service attacks on online rivals and placing hoax emergency phone calls that prompted them to receive visits by heavily armed police teams. The Massachusetts youth was sentenced to 11 months detention.

According to a 14-page indictment unsealed Monday, Harris took few pains to keep his illegal business secret. In addition to hosting online forums and selling a book online titled "Hacking the Cable Modem," he also authored a posting on his website asking for any "verified MAC addresses and/or config files" for users major metropolitan areas. The post promised "rewards will follow" for those who replied.

In all, Harris was indicted on six felony counts, including conspiracy, computer intrusion and wire fraud. If convicted on them all, he faces a maximum of 20 years in prison, 1.5 million in fines and an order to pay restitution. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Obama allows NSA to exploit 0-days: report
If the spooks say they need it, they get it
Putin tells Snowden: Russia conducts no US-style mass surveillance
Gov't is too broke for that, Russian prez says
Snowden-inspired crypto-email service Lavaboom launches
German service pays tribute to Lavabit
Mounties always get their man: Heartbleed 'hacker', 19, CUFFED
Canadian teen accused of raiding tax computers using OpenSSL bug
Heartbleed exploit, inoculation, both released
File under 'this is going to hurt you more than it hurts me'
Arts and crafts store Michaels says 3 million credit cards exposed in breach
Meanwhile, Target investigators prepare for long process in nabbing hackers
Canadian taxman says hundreds pierced by Heartbleed SSL skewer
900 social insurance numbers nicked, says revenue watchman
prev story

Whitepapers

SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.