No, it wasn’t Nicole Richie who hacked Paris Hilton’s Sidekick — the snooty phone-organizer-camera device that stores videos, photos and other data on T-Mobile’s central computer servers — and posted her revealing photos and celebrity phone numbers on the Internet.
The culprit wasn’t Hilton’s estranged best pal and co-star of The Simple Life as many imagined, but a 17 year-old member of the “Defonic Team Screen Name Club,” a collective of malicious hackers who also broke into data-collection firm LexisNexis’ computer system and exposed personal records of more than 300,000 consumers.
The unnamed youth — federal juvenile proceedings and the identity of juvenile defendants are under seal — was sentenced to to 11 months’ detention at a juvenile facility, followed by two years of supervised release in which he will be barred from “possessing or using any computer, cell phone or other electronic equipment capable of accessing the Internet.”
The tech teen also pleaded guilty to making bomb threats at two high schools and for breaking into a telephone company’s computer system to set up free wireless-phone accounts for friends, causing a total of around $1 million in damages.
The Washington Post has a fascinating behind-the-scenes story based upon online text conversations between the teen and a reporter detailing how he and fellow “Defonic Team Screen Name Club” members committed these and other computer crimes:
- The group had found that a tool on the T-Mobile site that allowed users to reset their account passwords contained a key programming flaw.
By exploiting the flaw, the group’s members were able to gain access to the account of any T-Mobile subscriber who used a “Sidekick,” a pricey phone-organizer-camera combination device that stores videos, photos and other data on T-Mobile’s central computer servers.
The hackers could only exploit the Web site vulnerability if they actually knew a Sidekick user’s phone number. The loose-knit group had grown bored of using the flaw to toy with friends and acquaintances who owned Sidekicks and decided to find a high-profile target, one that would ensure their exploits were reported in the press, the young hacker said. They ultimately settled on Hilton, in part because they knew she owned a Sidekick; Hilton had previously starred in a commercial advertising the device….