Feds Charge Cable Modem Hacker

    November 3, 2009

The U.S. Department of Justice has charged an Oregon man and the company he founded, TCNISO, alleging they developed and distributed products that allowed users to modify their cable modems and get free Internet access.

Michael-Loucks Acting United States Attorney Michael K. Loucks, announced that Ryan Harris, 26 of San Diego, and Redmond, Oregon, was charged in a six-count indictment with conspiracy, computer intrusion, and wire fraud.

The indictment alleges, from 2003 through 2009, TCNISO, under Harris’s direction, developed and distributed hardware and software tools that allowed its customer to modify their cable modems so they could disguise themselves as legitimate paying subscribers, in order to get high speed Internet access without paying for it.

The indictment also charges that TCNISO and Harris offered on going customer support, mainly via forums that it hosted on the company website, to help customers with their cable modem hacking.

According to the indictment, one of the customers who used the company’s products and assistance to steal Internet access, was a male juvenile from Massachusetts, known online as "Dshocker." In November 2008, "Dshocker," whose name is being withheld to protect his identity, was charged in federal court with computer intrusion, interstate threats and wire fraud.

If convicted, Harris faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

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