Andrew Auernheimer had already been convicted in Nov. 2012 on charges of identity theft and conspiracy to gain unauthorized access to computers related to the 2010 incident. He could have faced several years in prison, but his attorney was looking for probation. In the end, the judge went with the prosecutors’ suggestion.
“The one word that comes to my mind the most is disappointment,” said the judge at today’s sentencing. “That someone of your intelligence and ability would use his skills in a negative way.”
The AP reports that Auernheimer’s attorney plans to appeal.
After the sentence was handed down, Auernheimer declared to the court, “I respectfully say this court’s decision is wrong and if you understood what you are doing to the rule of law and the Constitution, you would be ashamed.”
In the immediate wake of the June 2010 breach, AT&T was forced to apologize and admit there was a flaw in its system. At the same time, the company decried the hackers as “malicious” and claimed the attack was motivated by a desire for the spotlight.
Auernheimer countered that the breach was done to alert AT&T and Apple, along with consumers, to the vulnerability of the then-new iPad.
“[W]e did it as a service to our nation,” he wrote at the time. “We love America and the idea of the Russians or Chinese being able to subvert American infrastructure is a nightmare.”
Yesterday, Auernheimer took part in an Ask Me Anything session on Reddit, in which many users took him to task for the supposed merits of publishing the breached iPad user info, though he did have some defenders who don’t believe he should be going to jail for exposing AT&T’s vulnerabilities.
Regardless of where you come down on the hackers’ actions in this case, we should note that both AT&T and Apple are currently in the running for Worst Company In America 2013.