Last year, Apple found that two teenagers hacked the company’s servers and downloaded almost a terabyte of information from the so-called “secure file.” The Australian boys kept the “job” for almost two years before being caught by Apple.
At the time, one of the boys’ defense attorneys said he was a big fan of the brand and wanted to show that it could improve Apple’s security system. Then in September of last year, the first Australian – at age 19 – confessed to breaking into company systems and escaped from prison with a probation sentence of eight months. The magistrate of the case said that the decision made possible the rehabilitation of the defendant who “showed remorse and cooperated with the authorities”.
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And on Monday (27) it was the turn of the second teen to receive his condemnation. As in the first case, the defense lawyer stated that his client did not understand the gravity of the situation and believed that Apple could offer him a job.
“This offense began when my client was 13 years old, a very young age,” said lawyer Mark Twiggs. “He did not know that hacking Apple’s systems would lead to anything other than a job. This happened in Europe, a similar person was caught and he ended up being hired by the company.”
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The teen will serve time on probation for nine months. The decision was influenced by two reasons: according to Judge David White, the boy had a good reputation in school and, after the invasion, used his “technological talents” for good. “He is clearly someone who is a talented individual when it comes to information technology, but being talented does not give him the right to abuse that gift,” White said in announcing the conviction.
The second teenager, as well as the first, plans to study cybersecurity and criminology at the university. Even with the invasion, Apple has not suffered any financial or intellectual damage.
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The two teenagers from Adelaide, Australia, still attended high school when they promoted the first cyberattack. In December of 2015, the boys used VPNs and other types of systems to create fake and digital credentials, confusing the Apple server and making them believe they were employees of the company.
The boys still used several laptops and different connections not to get caught. The second attack was in early 2017. The two teens downloaded Apple’s internal documents and data, including personal information from users. To do this, they were given access keys to the company’s high-security sectors.
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At least 90 GB of data was saved by the boys in a folder called “hacky hack hack”. The information was not used or passed on to others.
Although they made a whole system of security to hide their locations and IP of computers, the boys were traced by Apple through the serial number of the MacBooks used in the attack. Then the data was linked to purchase records that allowed the identification of hackers. As a result, the company ran the FBI, which contacted the Australian federal police and managed to reach the first teenager. Soon, authorities began investigating a second person’s involvement in the case.
All the equipment used by the boys – laptops, smartphones and HD – were seized.
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