blind_html [Fwd: Guilty Plea: Blind Hacker Admits Harassment,Eavesdropping, Fraud]

  • From: Nimer <nimerjaber1@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: blind_html@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sat, 31 Jan 2009 09:51:18 -0700

-------- Original Message --------
Subject:        Guilty Plea: Blind Hacker Admits Harassment,Eavesdropping, Fraud
Date:   Sat, 31 Jan 2009 10:55:41 -0500
From:   Ray T. Mahorney <coffee-craver@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Reply-To:       Blind-chit-chat@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
To:     <Undisclosed-Recipient:;>

[This young man is incredibly lucky that no one was killed or injured in
any of those bogus hostage phone calls designed to mobilize police SWAT teams.]

Guilty Plea: Blind Hacker Admits Harassment, Eavesdropping, Fraud

By Kevin Poulsen
Wired News

January 30, 2009 | 2:33:24 PM <>

A legally blind Massachusetts phone hacker admitted this week to federal
computer intrusion and witness intimidation charges that could put him away
for as long as 13 years.

Matthew Weigman, 18, pleaded guilty to two felonies before U.S. Magistrate
Judge Paul D. Stickney in Dallas on Tuesday. Known in the telephone
party-line scene as "Li'l Hacker," Weigman is widely considered one of the
best phone hackers alive.

Relying on an ironclad memory and detailed knowledge of the phone system,
the teenager is known for using social engineering to manipulate phone
company workers and others into divulging confidential information, and
into entering commands into computers and telephone switching equipment on
his behalf. The FBI had been chasing Weigman since he was 15 years old, at
times courting him as an informant. He was finally arrested last May, less
than two months after celebrating his 18th birthday.

"I've been interested in phones since I've been about 8," Weigman said in a
2007 interview with "I talked to technicians when they came down
here to do things on my phone."

In his plea deal with prosecutors, Weigman, who was born blind, admitted to
a long criminal resume. Among other things, he confessed to conspiring with
other telephone hooligans who made hundreds of false calls to police that
sent armed SWAT teams bursting into the homes of their party-line enemies.

In a new revelation, Weigman also admitted eavesdropping on customer
service calls to Sprint, by dialing into a phone line used by Sprint
supervisors to monitor their employees. Weigman parked on the spy line to
overhear customers giving out their credit card numbers, which he memorized
and passed to accomplices. Weigman and his friends used the numbers to
purchase computers and other electronics.

The FBI began investigating Weigman after he staged a 2005 hostage hoax
that sent police to the Colorado home of Richard Gasper, a TSA screener
whose daughter refused phone sex with Weigman. When the FBI caught up with
him more than a year later, cybercrime agent Allyn Lynd offered to make him
a confidential informant, but called off the deal when AT&T discovered that
Weigman was still manipulating the phone company.

Lynd later told a police detective that Weigman couldn't stop hacking for
more than 72 hours.

Weigman's current troubles began in April, the month he reached adulthood.
William Smith, a Verizon security investigator who'd been monitoring
Weigman's hacking and phoning in updates to the FBI, noticed that Weigman
had used the name and identifying information of a Texas woman to turn on
phone service at the East Boston apartment he shared with his mother and

When Smith disconnected the fraudulent account, Weigman turned it back on
again. Then Weigman began making harassing phone calls to Smith at his
house. To trick the security worker into picking up the phone, the hacker
socially engineered phone company employees into sharing Smith's billing
records in near-real time, then used Caller ID spoofing to make Smith think
someone was returning his own calls, according to court records.

"For example, Smith would call a travel agency to arrange for a flight,"
the FBI's Lynd wrote in an affidavit. "A few minutes later, he would
receive a phone call which appeared to be coming from the travel agency
that he had just booked a flight through. When Smith answered the phone,
Weigman would begin harassing him again."

Then on May 18, Weigman showed up at Smith's New Hampshire home with his
burly older brother. Smith felt intimidated and called the police, who
arrested the hacker.

Weigman is set for sentencing on April 24. Under the terms of his plea
agreement, he can withdraw his guilty plea if sentencing judge Barbara M.
G. Lynn gives him more than 13 years in prison.

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