[Nfbmo] blind hacker

Fred goodfolks at charter.net
Mon Feb 2 22:30:23 UTC 2009

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 Wired.com. "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
>>> siblings.

>>> 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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