An Australian teenager who hacked Apple when he was 13 has told a court that he carried out the attack in a bid to secure a job with the technology company.
Now 17, the teen pleaded guilty to a host of cybercrime offences following the attacks, which were carried out in December 2015 and early 2017.
Magistrate David White told ABC News Australia: “He is clearly someone who is a gifted individual when it comes to information technology. That being said, those who have this advantage of being gifted doesn’t give them the right to abuse that gift.”
White added that the gifts the teenager possesses should be used “for good rather than evil” as he was handed an AU$500 (£273) good behaviour bond for nine months.
As he was 13 years old at the time of the first hack, the teen’s lawyer, Mark Twiggs, told the court he was unaware of the seriousness of his actions.
“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,” Twiggs said. “He didn’t know this was going to lead to anything other than a job at the end of it.”
Twiggs reportedly told the court that the boy intended to study cybersecurity and criminology and that a criminal record would prevent him from pursuing future career opportunities.
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The teen appears to have drawn inspiration from previous occasions in which hackers have been offered employment following an attack.
Apple previously hired Nicholas Allegra, a world-famous hacker known as “Comex” who created the infamous JailbreakMe.com site, which allowed iPhone owners to ‘jailbreak’ their device. The tech firm also hired MobileNotifier developer Peter Hajas.
His accomplice, a teenager from Melbourne, was sentenced to eight months probation in 2018. He is believed to have been 16 at the time of the hack and was allegedly caught after bragging on WhatsApp about the attack.
Apple insisted no customer data was compromised in the attack. In a reaction statement to the earlier case in Victoria last year, the technology giant said: “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 unauthorised access, contained it, and reported the incident to law enforcement. We regard the data security of our users as one of the greatest responsibilities and want to assure our customers that at no point during this incident was their personal data compromised.”