The FBI unsealed charges recently against Ryan Harris, 26, who they say developed hardware and software tools to enable people to configure their cable modems to give them free Internet access.
Federal authorities unsealed charges in Boston
Nov. 2 against a man they allege developed tools to help people steal free
Internet access by modifying cable modems.
Charges against 26-year-old Ryan Harris, who has residences
Ore., and San
Diego, were unveiled Nov. 2. According
to authorities, Ryan and the company he founded, TCNISO, developed and
distributed hardware and software tools that enabled customers to modify
their cable modems and mask themselves as paying Internet subscribers.
This in turn allowed them to access ISPs' networks without authorization
for premium high-speed access.
The operation allegedly went on from 2003 through 2009. According to
authorities, one of the customers who used Harris and TCNISO's products and
assistance to steal Internet access was a male juvenile from
known by the online alias "DShocker." In November
2008, the juvenile-
whose name is
being withheld to protect his identity-
charged in federal court with computer intrusion, interstate threats and wire
The indictment also charges that TCNISO offered ongoing customer support to
assist customers as they hacked their cable modems.
Harris was charged in a six-count indictment with
conspiracy, computer intrusion and wire fraud. If convicted, he faces up to 20
years in prison and a $250,000 fine and restitution on each count.