Man charged with developing and distributing cable network hacking tools

Charges were unsealed in federal court in Massachusetts against an Oregon man and the company he founded, TCNISO, alleging that they developed and distributed products that allowed users to modify their cable modems and obtain internet access without paying for it.

Acting United States Attorney Michael K. Loucks, Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer and Warren T. Bamford, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation -Boston Field Division, announced today that Ryan Harris, age 26, of San Diego, California, and Redmond, Oregon, was charged in a six-count Indictment with conspiracy, computer intrusion, and wire fraud.

According to the Indictment, from 2003 through 2009, TCNISO, under Harris’s direction, developed and distributed hardware and software tools that allowed its customers to modify their cable modems so that they could disguise themselves as legitimate, paying subscribers in order to access internet service providers’ networks without authorization and get premium high-speed access without paying for it. The Indictment also charges that TCNISO and Harris offered ongoing customer support, primarily through forums that it hosted on the TCNISO website, to assist customers in their cable modem hacking activities.

According to the Indictment, one of the customers who used Harris and TCNISO’s products and assistance to steal Internet access was a male juvenile from Massachusetts, known by the online moniker “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, to be followed by 3 years of supervised release, a $250,000 fine and restitution on each count.

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Adam Bookbinder in Loucks’ Computer Crimes Unit and Mona Sedky Spivack, of the Department Of Justice’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section.

Source: U.S. Attorney’s Office

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