An Adelaide teenager who was just 13 years old when he first managed to hack into Apple’s secure computer system has pleaded guilty to multiple computer hacking charges in an Adelaide courtroom.
The Youth Court heard his case, where “he and another teenager from Melbourne hacked into the technology giant’s mainframe in December 2015 and then again in early 2017 and downloaded internal documents and data,” according to the ABC.
“He used his ‘high level of expertise’ in information technology to create false digital credentials which tricked Apple’s server into thinking he was a company employee.”
The breach was initially reported to the FBI, who passed on the information to the Australian Federal Police. The court heard that Apple reported no financial, data or intellectual property theft as a result of the hack.
Mark Twiggs, who represented the now 17-year-old told the court that the individual was ignorant of the impact of his actions, adding he thought Apple may have even offered him a job.
“This offending started when my client was 13 years of age, a very young age,” he said, adding “my client is remorseful.”
“He had no idea about the seriousness of the offence and hoped that when it was discovered that he might gain employment at this company.”
“He didn’t know this was going to lead to anything other than a job at the end of it, [this] happened in Europe, a similar person got caught and they ended up getting employed by the company.”
Magistrate David White placed the youth on a $500 good behaviour bond for the next nine-months.
“He is clearly someone who is a gifted individual when it comes to information technology,” Magistrate White said. “That being said, those who have this advantage of being gifted doesn’t give them the right to abuse that gift.”
“The manner in which the world functions is one that is heavily reliant on computer technology and those who unlawfully interfere with those systems can do enormous amounts of damage,” he added. “You must remain on the straight and narrow and use your gifts for good rather than evil,” he concluded.
The ABC contacted Apple for an official statement, to which they replied, “at Apple, we vigilantly protect our networks and have dedicated teams of information security professionals that work to detect and respond to threats.”
“In this case, our teams discovered the unauthorized access, contained it, and reported to law enforcement… We regard the data security of our users as one of our greatest responsibilities and want to assure our customers that at no point during this incident was their personal data collected.”
The other offender involved in the hack was last year sentenced to eight months probation for his involvement; he was 16-years-old at the time of the offence, and was reportedly caught after storing files in a folder called “hacky hack hack” and “bragging on WhatsApp”, according to Mashable.