Oregon Man May Get 140 Years For Stealing Internet Access

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[Techtaffy Newsdesk]

A Redmond, Ore., man was convicted of seven counts of wire fraud by a federal jury in Boston, says Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz of the District of Massachusetts.

Ryan Harris, 26, was the owner of TCNISO, a company that distributed products enabling users to steal Internet service.  From 2003 through 2009, Mr. Harris developed and distributed hardware and software tools that allowed his customers to modify their cable modems so that they could disguise themselves as paying subscribers and obtain Internet service without paying.  The products included a “packet sniffer,” which Mr. Harris dubbed “Coax Thief.”  “Coax Thief” surreptitiously intercepted (or “sniffed”) Internet traffic so that the user obtained the media access control addresses and configuration files of surrounding modems.  TCNISO and Mr. Harris also offered ongoing customer support, primarily through forums that it hosted on the TCNISO website, to assist customers in their cable modem hacking activities.

Each count carries a maximum prison term of 20 years and a fine of up to $250,000.  Sentencing has been scheduled for May 23, 2012, at 3 p.m. before Chief District Court Judge Mark Wolf, who presided over the trial.

The case was investigated by the Boston Field Office of the FBI and was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Adam Bookbinder of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts’s Cybercrimes Unit and Trial Attorney Mona Sedky from the Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section in the Justice Department’s Criminal Division.

[Image Courtesy: Belkin]