A computer hacker has landed in jail for three years and five months after stealing data from iPads belonging to approximately 120,000 users.
Apple's iPad found itself the hacker's target through infiltrating the AT&T network, Reuters reports. Not only were normal United States citizens affected, but New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Harvey Weinstein and TV news anchor Diane Sawyer also bore the brunt of the attack.
After being sentenced in November by a Newark, New Jersey jury, 27 year-old Andrew Auernheimer was found guilty of one count of conspiracy to access AT&T Inc servers without consent, and one case of identity theft. The U.S. Justice Department had petitioned for a sentence of between three and four years as U.S. District Judge Susan Wigenton ruled that Auernheimer would spend three years and five months -- 41 months -- behind bars.
The hacker will also have to submit to three years of supervised release and was ordered to pay restitution of $73,162.
Auernheimer considered himself the head of "security research" hacking group Goatse Security, and as part of the exercise to shed light on the security of AT&T's servers, stole email addresses and other personal data before leaking the information to online media publication Gawker. Account data was obtained after creating an "account slurper" which then used brute force tactics against AT&T's servers to match email addresses with iPad 3G users on the network.
Daniel Spitler, 27, who was involved in the process, has plead guilty to the same charges and is awaiting sentencing.
"Andrew Auernheimer knew he was breaking the law when he and his partner hacked into AT&T’s servers and stole personal information from unsuspecting iPad users," U.S. Attorney Fishman said in a statement.
"When it became clear that he was in trouble, he concocted the fiction that he was trying to make the Internet more secure, and that all he did was walk in through an unlocked door. The jury didn't buy it, and neither did the Court in imposing sentence upon him today."
Auernheimer has previously sought probation and plans to appeal the ruling. Prosecutors say that the sentencing may deter hackers from invading people's privacy in the future.