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MySpace hackers
plea to probation

 7:07 am on Feb 28, 2007 (gmt 0)

Two 19 year olds who were accused of attempting to extort $150,000 from MySpace have each received probation for 3 years, with severe computer access restrictions. In their plea agreement, the extortion count was dropped as was another illegal computer access count.

These two braniacs developed software that would collect e-mail and IP addresses from visitors to a persons profile. Then they sold the software on their own site. MySpace got wind of the software and blocked it. MySpace also sent a C&D to the pair, who responded that they would neither Cease nor Desist. Indeed, they were actually designing an update to get around the MySpace block on their software.

Finally, MySpace nabbed the pair during a payoff scheme.. but it was the Feds who showed up and properly cuffed the duo. And today the pair walked out of a Los Angeles courtroom, almost free. Besides the 3 years of probation and limited computer access, they received community service and a relatively light fine, $13,500. I think they got off light!

Here's the catch. Had this pair ever bothered to read the MySpace T&C, it wasn't obvious. They would have known that what they were coding was against the T&C. Of course, when the brain is engaged thusly, no amount of T&C matters anyway.



 4:04 pm on Feb 28, 2007 (gmt 0)

Here's one link [customwire.ap.org] with quite a few details.
Harrison and Mondelli's program collected e-mail addresses and Internet Protocol addresses, prosecutors said. Such information could have been used by stalkers trying to locate MySpace users, said Deputy District Attorney Jeffrey A. McGrath.

The men sold access to several versions of the code to computer users, who could then apply it to their own MySpace profiles. That type of traffic monitoring violates MySpace's rules.

The men boasted they had around 85,000 registered users of their tracking program, but investigators have not determined how much information users were able to cull, McGrath said.


 4:27 pm on Feb 28, 2007 (gmt 0)

85,000 users at $29.95 a crack = $2,545,750

hopefully they never actually sold anywhere close to that number or even close to a hundred


 5:06 pm on Feb 28, 2007 (gmt 0)

Interesting case. The MySpace hole seems a pretty large one, and they have been criticised a number of times over the way they accept pretty-much any scripts and content on users sites.

Unauthorised computer access indicates that they are the ones using the script - to me it seems that it's their customers who should answer that charge. I think the judge realised that and hence the low fine etc.

There is a big difference between telling you how to break into a house and actually doing it!


 5:16 pm on Feb 28, 2007 (gmt 0)

>>There is a big difference between telling you how to break into a house and actually doing it!

True, although selling tools useful only to burglars can be a criminal act, too.


 6:49 pm on Feb 28, 2007 (gmt 0)

Uh correct me if I am wrong but to gather IP addresses, all you'd have to do is post an image on someone's myspace page from a server with a log. This is done every day on lots of forums and social sites.

Now associating that with someone's username and even further email address would definitely be a naughty hack that I can't figure out off the top of my head.

Myspace is insane. I only go there to shake my head in wonder from time to time and run away.

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