An Australian teenager has pleaded guilty to hacking into Apple’s servers after the company notified authorities of the intrusion. The teen, who can’t be named for legal reasons, appeared at an Australian Children’s Court on Thursday facing allegations of hacking into Apple’s servers on multiple occasions.
Details of the case are still hazy, but the boy’s hacking is said to have begun at the age of 16, and included downloading 90 gigabytes of secure files and accessing “authorized keys” that grant login access to users.
The teenager used VPNs and other tools to try to avoid being traced, but Apple’s systems logged the serial numbers of the MacBooks used to carry out the attacks.
That chain of events began when Apple apparently detected the unauthorized access and blocked the source of the intrusions. It subsequently notified the FBI, which passed on the information to the Australian Federal Police, resulting in a warrant being executed at the family home last year.
The Australian Federal Police executed a search warrant on the teen’s home last year, the court heard.
Prosecutors said the raid turned up a “litany of hacking files” on a computer laptop and hard drive, as well as a mobile phone with an IP address that matched the source of the intrusions.
“Two Apple laptops were seized and the serial numbers matched the serial numbers of the devices which accessed the internal systems,” a prosecutor said.
“A mobile phone and hard drive were also seized and the IP address … matched the intrusions into the organisation.
“The purpose was to connect remotely to the company’s internal systems.”
The boy’s lawyer said the teen was a fan of the company and had “dreamed of” working for Apple. His lawyer also asked the magistrate’s court not to disclose some of the details of the case because the boy is well-known in the hacking community and it could put him at risk.
The magistrate’s court acknowledged the guilty plea, and the case has been adjourned until next month for sentencing.