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21-yo breaks into T-Mobile for a year, gets caught

T-Mobile

What would you do if you had unfettered access to T-Mobile’s networks for a year? Snoop on Snoop? Peep on Paris’s pictures? Screen Catherine Zeta-Jones’s email? Or perhaps you’d like to take it to the next level and monitor Secret Service communications? (We’re not even going to ask why T-Mo is handling Secret Service communications.) But of any or all of the above, we’d suggest that it’s probably not the best idea to brag about your mad ‘sploit and start leaking SS docs on IRC rooms. So props to 21-year old Nicolas Jacobsen for proving his ultimate 1337ness, and then for subsequently getting real, real busted. Is it just us, or do all all these hacker stories seem to unfurl the exact same way?

 

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Reader Comments

1. Posted Jan 12, 2005, 10:46 AM ET by Yardie

You're 21 and couldn't be that stupid. The least he could do if he is doing something illegal is enjoy the ride and shut the hell up. I guess that's just too much to ask

2. Posted Jan 12, 2005, 10:46 AM ET by Mark

I love these kind of stories. Even working as a server admin I'd like to think if someone broke into my systems for a year I wouldn't press chargers. I'd find it impressive that someone younger than me with less money was able to best me. It's like the wild west of computers, these will be the stories we read our kids. Heck, even being a Tmobile customer I wouldn't press charges. It just goes to show you that the only use for passwords, your ssn, secret code, etc, only slow down the legitimate users!

3. Posted Jan 12, 2005, 10:50 AM ET by B

thats a wild story...
a long read, but amusing

4. Posted Jan 12, 2005, 11:01 AM ET by Eric B.

Interesting.. I had my identity stolen exactly one week after signing up for T-Mobile service.

5. Posted Jan 12, 2005, 11:26 AM ET by tpp

As a T-Mobile customer, I'm changing my provider as soon as possible over this. They knew in July 2004 what had happened. The perp was arrested on October 2004. Yet to this point T-Mobile has not sent a single alert to customers about their confidential information being compromised. Nice work!

6. Posted Jan 12, 2005, 11:38 AM ET by Joey Geraci

give it a break. There would be a much bigger deal over this if there really was the danger that this guy had access to people's confidential information and USED IT!

7. Posted Jan 12, 2005, 11:45 AM ET by anthony

So where are these pictures of Paris? Just curious...for uhh...a school project.

8. Posted Jan 12, 2005, 11:46 AM ET by jason

the only reason that all these hacker stories come out the same is because people want recignition for what they have done. so instead of just being content with the fact that they have hacked a major network, they start blabing about it. since what he did was illegal, guess what, he got caught. all because he was big headed......

9. Posted Jan 12, 2005, 11:49 AM ET by Mark

Everyone knows all information (except you of course, and not you personally, just in general, 'you'). If you leave Tmobile and go to At&t then they will leak all of your information. It's somehow related to Murphy's law I think. Just like no matter what carrier you use, it sucks.

10. Posted Jan 12, 2005, 12:52 PM ET by n-C

> Posted Jan 12, 2005, 11:38 AM ET by Joey Geraci
> give it a break. There would be a much bigger > deal over this if there really was the danger > that this guy had access to people's
> confidential information and USED IT!

Did you actually read the story linked, or just the engadget snippet?

I am glad that you are confident that there was absolutely no misuse of any information by this individual or anybody else with whom he might have associated during the course of his year-long movement inside T-Mobile's systems.

Perhaps you have some special insight whereby you know that he never actually sold or traded any of the information that was advertised in his posts, and that he merely talked about it or pondered the possibility.

You'll understand, of course, if others are not so inclined to make this leap of faith, given the lad's severe lack of grounding in ethics (despite his moniker) and responsibility.

Just because you *can* do something doesn't mean you *should*.

p.s. last time I checked, "confidential information" could certainly include US Secret Service documents being passed around, or data which people are under the impression is private being distributed without their knowledge, no?

11. Posted Jan 12, 2005, 2:13 PM ET by petenice

Sorry, but AWE/Cingular have not had a hacker breaking into their systems and offering to sell personal info of customers like TMobile. Nor do they sell the info of their customers.

This will cost TMobile greatly if this shows up on the national news, which I hope it does since it is a serious issue regarding their company.

12. Posted Jan 12, 2005, 2:16 PM ET by Corgi

What's the point of changing networks? Unless the hacker or cracker actually knows you, why would they care about a random customer? 'Purloined Letter' theory, dude.

They all seem to be equally permeable by someone determined enough anyway.

13. Posted Jan 12, 2005, 2:32 PM ET by TheZodiac

Maybe he was intervewing fora job with the government - thats how you find thesmartest kids anyway: by arresting them for breaking into your top secret vaults.... n'stuff.

14. Posted Jan 12, 2005, 5:54 PM ET by Sauron

The only reason all these hacker stories unfold the same way is because you don't hear about the ones that unfold any other way. Those hackers are smart and don't tell everybody that they committed a major felony.

15. Posted Jan 12, 2005, 7:05 PM ET by Austin

Of course all hacker news stories "unfurl" the same way, because the only hackers in the news are the ones that are caught. The smart ones (i.e. the ones that don't brag about their 1337ness all over the place) who haven't been busted simply couldn't be in the news...

16. Posted Jan 12, 2005, 7:06 PM ET by Austin

Ahh, didn't notice Sauron beat me to it ;)

17. Posted Jan 12, 2005, 7:20 PM ET by Austin

Of course all hacker news stories "unfurl" the same way, because the only hackers in the news are the ones that are caught. The smart ones (i.e. the ones that don't brag about their 1337ness all over the place) who haven't been busted simply couldn't be in the news...

18. Posted Jan 12, 2005, 9:20 PM ET by chuck

so he hacked t-mobile's servers and stole identities, and now the secret service is offering him a job. boo-hoo, what a pity for him.

19. Posted Jan 13, 2005, 2:29 AM ET by Mariko

they only unfurl that way because we only hear about the ones that get caught ;)

20. Posted Jan 13, 2005, 2:29 AM ET by Mariko

they only unfurl that way because we only hear about the ones that get caught ;)

21. Posted Jan 16, 2005, 1:55 PM ET by Suntiger

Wait up, Kevin Poulsen is still out there, and writing articles? Cool.

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