back to article Hacker charged in $1m cable ISP customer cloning scheme

Federal prosecutors have charged a California man with earning $1m over a six-year period by illegally selling products that allowed customers to get high-speed internet service for free. Ryan Harris, 26, of San Diego sold software and hardware that were designed to fool Charter Communications and other internet service …


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  1. Jon 27

    Well thats a surprise.

    TCNiSO. The world famous sellers of software and equipment to hack cable modems... Busted. About time. A lot of their work was stolen from the community and sold on anyway.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Hang the bastard...

    And anyone else who deliberately games the system at the cost of other for personal gain.

  3. bitemytaco

    When will the feds target the real criminals?

    I agree with DerEngel, this is complete and utter bullshit. Funny that the feds filed this case exactly one month after they dismissed the case against cablehack filed earlier this year (it was dismissed without prejudice in July). Mr. Poulsen is the same wired author who wrote the original article about cablehack being raided back in February SEVERAL DAYS BEFORE THE RAID/ARREST EVEN OCCURRED. This is an obvious “cash grab” and property seizure by the FBI. DerEngel is an ethical hacker and going after him is beyond ridiculous when there are hundreds of morons on craigslist and other sites (i.e. m*ssm*dz) selling modems with the obvious INTENT to steal service. Why are the feds not going after the real criminals? M*ssm*dz has been getting away with selling illegal modems, FTA receivers, wiis, burglar tools, and other stuff for well over a year now. He has posted tutorials on how to get away with murder, steal from every ISP and D*SH network, etc. The FBI is well aware of his activities and has made no effort to arrest him - the entire “modem community” has been wondering for months how this guy is still in business. Diagnostic cable modems have tons of legitimate uses and there are no laws against modifying electronics that an end user owns. The feds already made fools of themselves once this year - now it looks like they are going for round 2. I for one will be contributing to the fund to provide DerEngel with a good lawyer. I hope he counter-sues the feds for false arrest and destroying his business (TCNiSO computers is a real computer store in Cali). Indicting someone for the actions of someone else (dshocker) is not FREEDOM - what the f*ck is happening to america? Might as well move to China or Iran if this is the way our government is going to treat us! DerEngel, I believe I speak for the majority of the modem community when i say YOU HAVE OUR SUPPORT.

    Dan Goodin: You interviewed me last year about dshocker as I was one of his "swatting" victims. I cannot believe you are taking the side of the government - this is obviously a BS indictment. You should read Kevin Poulsen's article at wired magazine- he obviously has the right idea about this whole situation. You know very well how evil dshocker is, and now the feds are charging someone else because of dshocker's actions? Land of the free MY ASS!

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    so smart yet so stupid

    Too bad they can't put Jonathan Schwartz away fro 30 years for what he did to Sun....ah JAVA

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up


    Where can I order one?

  6. jake Silver badge

    Not a hacker.

    A skiddy.

    Enough brains to game the system using tools built by others, not enough brains to make money legally using the same tools.

  7. peter 3

    DOCSIS 3

    DOCSIS 3 on Virgin will stop the same in the UK, people used to search their local networks and swap codes for 20Mbit then apply them to their router in another area.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hmm, maybe he should have used his own anonymous surfing capability

    poor master criminal skills, there

  9. Anonymous Coward

    @ bitemytaco

    You are such an idiot.

    That is all.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    MAC Addresses

    Huh? This seems like a bit of a daft way to identify subscribers. Wouldn't good old pppoe or even some sort of smart card system be better?

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    The worst part of this fiendish crime

    "In addition to allowing customers to obtain internet service without paying for it, TCNISO allowed users to SURF ANONYMOUSLY"

  12. Field Marshal Von Krakenfart


    do you have the ISBN code for "Hacking the Cable Modem" please.....

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    You expect ethics from a journo? If they give you the time and date, don't trust it until you've seen corroborating evidence from another source.

    I used to work for a major newspaper and have seen how the "experts" are chosen to cover the field. One reason I don't ever by a paper nowadays - I'll not pay for someone's ill-informed, agenda-laden BS.

    Those who can, do

    those who can't, teach

    those who can't do or teach, get a job with the council

    those who can't even get a job with the council become journos.

  14. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: @bitemytaco

    Ooh, harsh, AC. And er, a little sweeping. There are broadly ethical and unethical journalists and many wallowing in the grey areas between (depending on your definition of 'ethical').

    I could fancy a council job, though, until it got utterly depressing.

  15. This post has been deleted by its author

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: @bitemytaco by the AC

    I fancy a council job for my last few years before retirement. Easy work, job security, better pension deal than anywhere else (short of running a bank or politics - and I do have *some* ethics).

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    It is not the changing the MAC address as such that is illegal, it is the changing the MAC address for fraudulent purposes that is illegal.

    I could call myself William Gates if I wanted to. With impunity. I could have business cards made up and everything. However the second I try to take out a billion dollar loan using Microsoft as collateral I am breaking the law.

  18. Paul_Murphy

    I needed to spoof a mac address

    When I first installed a firewall/router for my network.

    Since NTL had previously stored my PC's registered mac with their servers to prove I was who I said I was I needed to get my firewall to spoof my PC's mac.

    At least I was using my own mac, so no harm done.

    If matey-boy there had set up account, and then used that for his customers mac addresses I wonder what would have happened, it's the using of other peoples that will be the problem.

    mines the mac.....


  19. Anonymous Coward


    Try more like over worked because budgets are cut all the time, no job security because your job can go on a political wim and the pension is only good if you work there for 50-60 years. Oh and no one ever recognises hard work, only critisises when things go wrong, even if it is minor mistakes.

  20. Anonymous Coward

    mac confusion?

    Its not the MAC of your network card that defines service level and authorisation. Its the "HFC" (hybrid fiber/coax) MAC built into your cablemodem which defines the cablemodem itself to the network. The cablemodem is the equipment of the cable company, so changing the HFC MAC is going to go against their T&Cs at least. If you buy a modem outright and change the HFC MAC yourself, this is completely legal, however connecting it to the cable network with the intent to pretend to be a legitimate customer and piggyback their service is, in my view (and im sure the laws) theft.

    TCNISO would have been completely fine had they not been part of the HFC MAC "trading" game (which is where a person from area A gives a locally used HFC MAC to a person in area B so they can upgrade speed or get free service). Selling the equipment itself is not against the law as far as i know, neither is putting on custom firmware if you own the device.

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