AT&T iPad hack exposer breaks gag order


A man who helped publicise the recent vulnerability that affected various AT&T iPad customers has violated a gagging order to protest that his civil liberties "are being grossly violated".

Andrew Auernheimer, a member of the Goatse Security group that claimed to have information on a security hole on the AT&T website containing Apple iPad user information, was reportedly arrested last month on drug charges.

Auernheimer has now alleged that the arrest was more than just drug related and had plenty to do with the vulnerability discovery as well.

The Goatse member said the authorities have treated him unfairly and have even denied him a public defence lawyer.

He was keen to stress that his and Goatse's actions were not against the law.

"They were done using industry standard practices as a public service. All the actions of the original author of this exploit were not criminal," he wrote in a blog post.

Auernheimer said that he was not responsible for accessing the data through the security loop he simply helped to publicise the vulnerability as a journalist.

"I took data that someone gave me anonymously and let the world know about it in what I thought was the most efficient way possible. I am being persecuted solely because my speech has angered a large corporation," he added.

Auernheimer is asking for donations from supporters to help him fight his legal battle and also called for people to write letters to local, state and national representatives.

At the time of publication, AT&T had not responded to a request for a response to Auernheimer's blog.

Last month, Goatse claimed that the security loop on the website gave access to around 114,000 email addresses, including those of high up politicians and business executives.

The group also said it had waited until the hole was fixed by AT&T before taking information to gossip site Gawker and claimed it had made sure someone tipped the communications company off about the security problem.

AT&T, however, said it had not been given any advance warning from the "hackers".

Tom Brewster

Tom Brewster is currently an associate editor at Forbes and an award-winning journalist who covers cyber security, surveillance, and privacy. Starting his career at ITPro as a staff writer and working up to a senior staff writer role, Tom has been covering the tech industry for more than ten years and is considered one of the leading journalists in his specialism.

He is a proud alum of the University of Sheffield where he secured an undergraduate degree in English Literature before undertaking a certification from General Assembly in web development.