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Teen Hacker Whom Apple Reported to FBI Just Wanted a Dang Job

Illustration for article titled Teen Hacker Whom Apple Reported to FBI Just Wanted a Dang Job
Photo: Kevin Frayer / Getty

The lawyer for an Australian teenager who twice breached Apple’s internal security says he did so because he thought it might land him a job at the California-based tech giant, the Australian Associated Press reports.

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The unidentified youth, who was reportedly 13 years old the first time he and an accomplice gained unauthorized access to the company’s network, had “no idea the seriousness of the offense,” his lawyer told an Adelaide court. Now 17, the teen has been released on a $500 bond with the stipulation that he behave for at least nine months.

The teenager, whose cohort—a slightly older boy from Melbourne—received a similar sentence last fall, apparently believed that once Apple discovered the breach it would offer him a job at the company. Instead, it contacted the FBI, which in turn notified the Australian Federal Police.

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Apple did not suffer any damages from the breach, the court was told, according Australian broadcaster ABC.

“He didn’t know this was going to lead to anything other than a job at the end of it,” said the teen’s lawyer, Mark Twiggs, ABC reports. The attorney also said the boy had seen another hacker get a job after a similar breach.

The lawyer reportedly said his client intended to study cybersecurity and criminology, and told the magistrate that a criminal record would devastate those prospects. The magistrate ultimately decided not to tarnish the boy’s record and no conviction was recorded.

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“He is clearly someone who is a gifted individual when it comes to information technology,” the judge said, according to ABC, “that being said, those who have this advantage of being gifted doesn’t give them the right to abuse that gift.”

The boy’s accomplice, sentenced last September at the age of 19, was similarly spared from jail and from having a conviction placed on his record. His attorney likewise stated that he dreamed of working for Apple and thought hacking the company might gain its attention.

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Apple could not be immediately reached for comment, but in a widely printed statement, the company said it wanted to assure its customers that “at no point during this incident was their personal data compromised.”

Senior Reporter, Privacy & Security

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DISCUSSION

Finding backdoors, illegal reverse-engineering, and the like have been the way into the hearts of tech for so long, I can’t really blame the kids for thinking that way.

On the other hand, there is a certain point where if you keep rewarding violators you are just placing a big target on yourself and offering a reward to anyone that can break your platform.