Accused PlayStation Hacker Smashes Computers, Gets House Arrest

Todd Miller is one of the men accused of being behind the 2008 PlayStation Network hacks. Last week he was sentenced to 12 months house arrest, but here's the thing: authorities couldn't prove he was involved.

Instead, the Columbus Dispatch reports, the sentence was handed out because Miller, having been interviewed by the FBI in 2011, went and smashed all his computers before they could return with a search warrant.

Because of this, they couldn't prove he was involved in the hacks. So they nailed the 23 year-old with "obstructing a federal investigation" instead.

In addition to the house arrest, Miller - who has a ninth-grade education - was also ordered by the judge to complete a high school certificate.

Which is getting off lightly. He could have faced up to 20 years prison and a $US250,000 fine.

Hacking suspect gets year of house arrest [Columbus Dispatch, via Game Politics]


Comments

    Hate to say it... But smart kid! Idiot, but smart?

    I'm no lawyer, but if a warrant hasn't been served, surely you can smash your own stuff, right?

    that guys a genius!

    Does it bother anybody else that in movies where they have to quickly destroy computer equipment so data doesn't get into the wrong hands, they take the time to smash the monitors? I can't think of a film that does this off the top of my head, but I recall being put off by it on more than one occasion. I guess it looks pretty cool, though LCD's don't have the same kind of glass shattering goodness as CRTs did backintheday.

      The old smash everything but the hard drive trick. =P

      i prefer that scene from that movie where they drill to the centre of the earth to set off a nuke
      the hacker dude slides a magnet down a server rack

      ever since then ive thought about how i can easily incorporate a similar kill switch

      Anyway, wouldnt it have been easier to relocate his computers....

    Agreed. The proper way to obscure data is to layer it. So if you want your hd to be wiped you would actually want to keep wiping and applying data to create a scramble on whatever data was there previous. for example you have the number 1 on your hd you want to get rid of it so you delete it but there is still an impression that can be found so now you would save 2 over it to obscure the impression and would continue the the rinse and repeat method to scramble any sensitive data.

    I'm glad they couldn't prove it. Good on him. Current laws and regulation can land you in jail for a longer time than some murders or whatever. What's he gonna do with so many account details? Use them and not get caught? He wouldn't have used anything anyway.

      Err, sell them to people who do know how to use them?

        You telling me that a guy who FBI is watching will make large amounts of money and not get noticed? All they gotta do is check up on him every now and the untill the info expires.

          As I said, he can sell the information, extremely easily. Hell, the same people could easily launder the money for him at the same time.
          Your attempt at trivialising this guy’s actions and somehow trying to defend him is bizarre. “He wouldn't have used anything anyway”, what the hell are you smoking?

            Looks more as if he was trying to prove a point. No one does something like this and not get caught. I'm sure he knew. As for what point was he trying to prove I don't know.

              You’re making a lot of assumptions about his character and it’s counter to what information has so far been provided about him.
              I’d like to see you pickpocketed one day and then tell everyone that you’re sure they were just doing it for the challenge and they’re not really going to use your credit card.
              No offense but you must be incredibly sheltered.

                Current laws and regulation can land you in jail for a longer time than some murders or whatever.

                He does make quite a valid point here though.

                Alright then I give up. He's the worst person to walk the earth. He should be hanged. F#-in haxor. Ruined everything. he should just die. Am I doin it right?

                  are you honestly assuming that because one doesn't condone their actions or approve of their sentence that they are in any way insinuating that they are the worst person on the earth?

                  or are you just being an idiot who goes from one extreme to the other in some foolish attempt to undermine the integrity of someone elses opinion...]

                  bottom line is that regardless of his motives I don't want him having my account information, I don't know him or trust him and I don't like people who put others at risk to "prove a point". he got of light and should have faced the full consequences of his actions regardless of how it compares to the consequences of murder.

                  TL;DR: can I borrow your bank account details and credit cards? I need them to prove a point.

              Let's assume that he did not plan to do anything with the details.

              The people who had their details stolen, if they chose to be reasonably careful, would have had their credit card details replaced. Let's call it 4 hours' work (call up the bank, organise the new card, activate it, get it changed with every organisation charging to it - then double that for the wasted efforts of the people at the other end of the line.)

              If only 100000 people took this course (out of several million details stolen) the time spent would be equivalent to 45 years of 24-hour days, or 200 years of 8-hour-a-day, 5-day-a-week work. This bloke and his friends blew four human lifetimes of productive work. At $15/hour they cost people over six million dollars.

              If that's not worth some punishment, I don't know what is.

              Don't make the mistake of thinking this sort of thing is trivial. The multiplier effect for the number of people affected boosts the impact may over that of a trivial crime like robbing a bank.

                The scale is quite large you are correct. Perhaps there could be a better system to guard such details. I'm sure a company like Sony could come up with something.

                That's the best argument I've heard all day.

                though they probably should view this as an opportunity to discover better ways of information safe keeping.

      he could sell them, the account as we all know have unencrypted CC details

        Yeah same answer applies. That information has an expiry date.

          lol when i was reading his this post there was no reply ...
          u guys ninja my comment even by i type it .... lol pro in so many ways

      I'd go the opposite - good on the FBI.
      What does it matter the intent of use of the stolen material - it was still stolen.
      The rehashing of the point of "land you in jail for a longer time than some murders" is really tiresome also - the max punishment is set high for 2 reasons :
      1. The ubiquity of technology allows anyone the ability to be involved in a hack, so it serves as a deterrent, and
      2. The amount of damage that a hack can do varies wildly, so it covers those that can create mass mischief (and death).
      I think it was a light sentence, but a fair judgement.

        I think you study law and need to think like that. But I'm just saying most time that info is active is 5 years max. Sure the damage could be huge, but this can all be predicted. My opinion, he should be sentenced for the amount of time the information is active and not some stupid amount of time when clearly his greatest crime was taking private information. Which ofcourse expires and he did not use for anything. As for intention, like I said its not like current electronic transactions and emails are not monitored by a system anyway. It is predictable and unless they have found any intention for further use the possible sentance of 20 years is ridiculous.

          a bullet doesn't stay airborne for that long so obviously I shouldn't be forced to take any longer a sentence...

          you can fuck someones entire life over in the space of seconds, the time it takes to commit a crime should have no such sway over the punishment.

            This is exactly right.
            You can see that in this case, leniency has been given, as there isn't even a mention of the 20 year potential.
            Identity theft and personally invasive acts such as this have a great potential to cause victims loss beyond the financial. The law should view this not on the potential misuse by the transgressor, but more on the perceived threat of the victim.

            Hey I'm just saying the laws are not entirely correct for every single case. they should be revised and updated regularly, more than they are due to the advancements of tools and technology available. Also social engineering does not work that way. Look I'm tired and I don't know why I'm replying. Though it was a good discussion. I still believe that the initial possibility for 20 years is just screwed up, and that 1 year and forced to finish high school is quiet a joke. And a funny one at that. I'm glad he broke those comps because this exactly proves that point that laws should be regularly changed and updated.

    20 years prison imho is just, the fine imho is just
    the information that was stolen can destroy hundreds of thousands of lives in a very short period of time, i say lock him up and throw away the key, malicious acts of terrorism should be dealt with accordingly if found guilty

      Wasn't all of the info encrypted though? If not, why wasn't it?

      Seriously, I know victim blaming isn't the right answer, but if Sony weren't protecting the credit card details of hundreds and thousands of people correctly, then they are also at fault. Very much so, in fact.

      The 20 years prison and the fine would be justified if he DID destroy hundreds of thousands of lives, but he didn't. He did absolutely nothing with it.

      Last edited 14/05/13 4:34 pm

        That's ridiculous. No matter how great is your security, someone sufficiently dedicated will eventually manage to break it. If you use the best locks and metal doors and and special glass windows in your home to protect yourself from theft and the thieves just blow down a wall with dynamite, you wouldn't be very happy if the police handwaves your report with a "pfft, you didn't ward your house against explosives? May as well leave the door open next time."

          I don't think you understand how encryption works.

    this guys probably innocent i mean if the AFP decides to break down my door id have to trash my HDD pretty quickly not because i'm a hacker i just have a few pirated things (auto-desk & adobe stuff but its cool those guys are dicks anyway) and i don't feel the need to pay $50,000 per offence

    Yeah, not a good time to be a casual hacker. All the professional hackers? You NEVER hear about them. They're like ghosts. They don't boast, they don't show off and they certainly don't generate publicity for themselves. People like Lulzsec and the Playstation hackers, they're not professionals and they almost always get caught by the Feds. The Feds are slow to move, but once they do, they have formidable technology on their side. You might be able to laugh at them and run rings around them for a while, but the longer you toy with the feds, the higher your chances are of being caught.

    Being sent back to high school is worse than prison.

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