Cable modem hacker convicted of defrauding cable firms out of $1 million

Harris, a 26-year-old resident of Redmond, Ore., was convicted on seven counts of wire fraud for hacking cable modems and software
Harris, a 26-year-old resident of Redmond, Ore., was convicted on seven counts of wire fraud for hacking cable modems and software

Harris, a 26-year-old resident of Redmond, Ore., was convicted on seven counts of wire fraud for hacking cable modems and software, enabling users to bypass restrictions placed on cable modems by cable companies to filter content, the US Department of Justice (DoJ) announced Friday.

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 before Chief District Court Judge Mark Wolf, who presided over the trial.

From 2003 through 2009, Harris allegedly 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 for it.

The products included a packet sniffer dubbed the “coax thief”, which surreptitiously intercepted internet traffic so that the user obtained the media access control addresses and configuration files of surrounding modems. Harris and his company TCNISO offered customer support primarily through forums that it hosted on the TCNISO website to assist users in their cable modem hacking activities, the DoJ said.

“Mr. Harris tried to hide behind the banner of freedom of access to the Internet, but the evidence established that he built a million dollar business helping customers steal internet service,” said Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer.
 

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