Weev

Weev

Updated Aug 04, 2015 at 01:17AM EDT by Brad.

Added Nov 27, 2012 at 04:52PM EST by Don.

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淠.ual«Hxou' zujTeok

About

Weev is the pseudonym of Andrew Alan Escher Auernheimer, an American hacker and Internet troll known for his involvement on the website Encyclopedia Dramatica and in an AT&T data breach that exposed personally identifiable information of 114,000 iPad users.

Online History

On February 4th, 2003, Auernheimer created an account on the social networking blog site Livejournal,[1] where he gained the reputation of being a prominent troll within the site's community. On August 1st, 2006, Auernheimer spoke at the ToorCon information security conference in San Diego, California (shown below), during which he claimed to be under the influence of the psychedelic drug lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD).[4] During the talk, he discussed various types of Internet crime, including hacking the Firefox browser and trading iGn online black markets.



GNAA & Goatse Security

In the mid-2000s, Auernheimer became closely involved with the GNAA, a foul-named online trolling collective that gained much notoriety for attacking prominent bloggers, Internet celebrities and high-profile websites, even serving as the president of the group at some point. He also contributed to the foundation of the spin-off group Goatse Security, a hacker collective named after the eponymous shock site Goatse that focuses on publicizing security flaws discovered by its members, including the AT&T data breach that ultimately led to the arrest of

YouTube Channel

On February 1st, 2009, Auernheimer began uploading videos to his YouTube channel, where he would provide sermons on his unique brand of Christianity (shown below).



AMAs on Reddit

On October 20th, 2009, Auernheimer submitted an "ask me anything" post to the social news website Reddit,[13] in which he discussed the practice of trolling and his political views. Years later, on March 17th, 2013, Auernheimer participated in his second ask me anything (AMA) post in the /r/IAmA subreddit,[21] leading to a heated debate among Redditors over whether or not he deserved to go to jail, with many attacking his character and involvement with the online troll collective GNAA. Auernheimer revealed in a comment[24] that his only regret was “giving AT&T a chance to patch before dropping the dataset to Gawker,” to which many warned him that he should refrain from saying such things publicly prior to his sentencing. He further went on to reveal[22] that he planned on running for Congress as his next move in order to avoid prosecution for publishing hacks in the future.

Highlights

Amazon Best-Sellers List Exploit

On April 13th, 2009, Gawker[3] published an article titled "Why it Makes Sense That a Hacker's Behind Amazon's Big Gay Outrage," which reported that Auernheimer had taken responsibility for exploiting a vulnerability in the ratings tool for the online retailer Amazon, causing gay-themed romance novels to disappear from the site's best-seller lists. The article cited a Livejournal[5] post in which Auernheimer described the methods used to execute the prank.

AT&T Data Breach

On June 9th, 2010, Gawker[10] published an article titled "Apple's Worst Security Breach: 114,000 iPad Owners Exposed," which reported that the information of CEOs, military officials and politicians had been leaked due to a vulnerability in the AT&T network. The article went on to reveal that iPad subscriber data had been obtained by the hacker group Goatse Security[11] on AT&T’s website, which was accessible to anyone on the Internet prior to the group’s exploit.

Support of OWS Movement

On October 20th, 2011, YouTuber optikaltekniq uploaded a video in which Auernheimer revealed his thoughts on the Occupy Wall Street movement and explained why he felt federal prosecutors were attempting to put him in jail (shown below). The same day, the video was highlighted on the Internet news site BoingBoing.[9]



"I've had a strong decade of infuriating rich people."

Arrest and Trial

On June 11th, 2010, The Wall Street Journal[12] published an article reporting that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) had begun investigating the incident. On June 15th, the tech news site Cnet[15] published an article reporting that Auernheimer had been detained following an FBI search of his apartment, in which several illegal drugs were discovered, including "cocaine, ecstasy, LSD and schedule 2 and 3 pharmaceuticals." On July 7th, The Register[20] published an article titled "AT&T iPad 'Hacker' Breaks Gag Order to Rant at Cops," which quoted Auernheimer saying:

"My actions and those of Goatse were not criminal; they were done using industry standard practices as a public service. All the actions of the original author of this exploit were not criminal. Scraping data from a public web server is an extremely common practice amongst lawyers, security researchers and journalists, not to mention web developers."

On November 20th, 2012, the tech news site Wired[16] reported that Auernheimer had been found guilty of “conspiracy to access a computer without authorization” and “fraud in connection with personal information.” The same day, Auernheimer tweeted that he would be appealing the conviction.




On November 21st, Vice's technology news blog Motherboard[17] published an article titled "No More Lulz: Should Weev, the World's Most Notorious Troll, Go to Jail for 'Hacking'?" On November 27th, Gawker[18] published an article titled "The Internet's Best Terrible Person Goes to Jail: Can a Reviled Master Troll Become a Geek Hero?", which described Auernheimer's history and court appearances leading up to his conviction. Meanwhile, the Huffington Post[8] announced its plan to release an exclusive interview with Auernheimer regarding his conviction on November 28th.

Sentencing and Appeal

On the following day, Auernheimer was sentenced to 41 months in federal prison, 3 years of probation and a restitution of $73,000 to AT&T, receiving a third of the possible maximum sentence for both charges. According to the tech news blog Tech Crunch,[23] Auernheimer was momentarily apprehended and removed from the courtroom by ten officers after he attempted to use his phone, before returning to the trial in shackles. According to The Verge,[25] federal prosecutors mentioned Auernheimer's AMA post several times during the sentencing and brought attention to his involvement with the Internet culture wiki Encyclopedia Dramatica. Prior to his sentencing, Auernheimer spoke to the press outside of the courthouse, where he criticized the federal government and exclaimed "I'm going to jail for arithmetic! Fuck this country!" (shown below).



"Weev" has stated that he planned to appeal his sentencing again[27]. He was to be assisted in doing so by the Electronic Frontier Foundation[28]. On the March 21st, 2013,[29] a "Notice of Defendant's Appeal" form was filed by Auernheimer's legal team, the full text of which can be read here on online document sharing site Scribd. Later that year, on July 2nd, the actual appeal was filed[37].

Release from Prison

On April 11th, 2014, Auernheimer was released from prison after appealing his case in a federal court.[40]The reason for his sentence being overturned was a matter of jurisdiction, or "venue," i.e. where the server was or the location of the "crime" being different from the state he was tried in.[40][41] On April 16th, the hacker appeared in a live-streamed interview on the Huffington Post (shown below), during which he challenged the federal government to "bring it," as he expects a follow-up trial in a different jurisdiction.



Reputation

Auernheimer is a controversial figure who has been often described as offensive and bigoted in the media. In several Livejournal posts, podcasts and YouTube videos, Auernheimer has expressed his opinions on a wide range of racial and cultural issues, which earned him the label of being an anti-Semite by his critics. CNN[6] writer Philip Elmer-DeWitt referred to him in an article as “the ugliest computer hacker,” similarly portraying Auernheimer as an anti-Semite and a bigot who jokes about the deaths of celebrities and makes disparaging remarks towards Black Americans. Another article in The Australian[7] described Auernheimer as a “celebrity hacktivist.”

News Media Coverage

On August 3rd, 2008, The New York Times published an article titled “The Trolls Among Us,” which featured interviews with several Internet trolls including Auernheimer as well as Jason Fortuny and Encyclopedia Dramatica creator Sherrod DeGrippo. In the article, Auernheimer is described as a dangerous hacker with access to thousands of social security numbers (SSN), having sent the author his own SSN one month after being interviewed.

On October 19th, 2012, Auernheimer appeared on The Huffington Post Live web show to discuss his thoughts on trolling in light of the Violentacrez Reddit scandal (shown below).



Prison Mistreatment Controversy

In April 2013, Auernheimer began tweeting from prison,[30] and posting messages to Soundcloud[31]. This led to his placement in solitary confinement[32][33], which caused outcry on several online news sites[34][35][36].

Free Weev Campaign

In 2011[26], the site Free Weev[19] was launched, which urged viewers donate to Auernheimer's legal defense fund. Sometime in July 2013, single-serving site "Is Weev Free"[39] was launched. The site was created by Jason Gulledge[38]. It serves the purpose of informing the sites' viewer of how many days Auernheimer has been incarcerated and whether or not he has been freed yet. In addition, the site offers links to several Auernheimer-related resources/sites, such as information on sending Auernheimer books, and the site for the CFAA Defense Fund.

Search Interest

External References

[1] Livejournal – weev

[2] New York Times – The Trolls Among Us

[3] Gawker – Why it Makes Sense That a Hacker's Behind Amazon's Big Gay Outrage

[4] Krebs On Security – Drug Charges Against Accused AT&T iPad Hacker

[5] Livejournal – brutal honesty

[6] CNN – The ugliest computer hacker

[7] The Australian – Ugly Trolls Set Internet Freedom in Flames

[8] The Huffington Post – Weev Speaks

[9] BoingBoing – Andrew Auernheimer hacker in AT&T iPad case on Occupy Wall Street

[10] Gawker – Apple's Worst Security Breach – 114,000 iPad Owners Exposed

[11] Goatse Security – Goatse Security

[12] The Wall Street Journal – FBI Opens Probe of iPad Breach

[13] Reddit – IAmA weev AMAA

[14] Wall Street Journal – Programmer Detained After FBI Search

[15] Cnet – Hacker in AT&T-iPad security case arrested on drug charges

[16] Wired – Goatse Security's Auernheimer Convicted in iPad Website Hacking Case

[17] Motherboard – No More Lulz

[18] Gawker – The Internets Best Terrible Person Goes to Jail

[19] Free Weev – The Andrew Auernheimer Legal Defense Fund

[20] The Register – ipad hacker breaks gag order

[21] Reddit – I am Weev

[22] Reddit – "I am running for Congress": https://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/1ahkgc/i_am_weev_i_may_be_going_to_prison_under_the/c8xi07l

[23] Tech Crunch – Andrew Auernheimer Sentenced

[24] Reddit – 'My only regret":https://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/1ahkgc/i_am_weev_i_may_be_going_to_prison_under_the/c8xgqq9

[25] The Verge – Andrew 'weev' Auernheimer sentenced to 41 months

[26] Wayback Machine – freeweev.info – August 16, 2011 revision

[27] Heavy.com- Andrew ‘Weev’ Auernheimer Sentenced to Over Three Years in Prison

[28] Electronic Frontier Foundation – EFF Joins Andrew Auernheimer Case on Appeal

[29] The Verge – Andrew 'weev' Auernheimer appeals prison sentence, adds pro bono lawyer to defense

[30] ReadWrite – AT&T Hacker Weev Is Live-Tweeting From Jail

[31] Mashable – Hacker 'Weev' Sends SoundCloud Message From Prison

[32] Motherboard – Hacker Andrew Auernheimer Has Been Placed in Solitary Confinement, Possibly for Tweeting

[33] Daily Dot- Weev placed in solitary confinement for tweeting from prison

[34] Technogasm – Why Was Hacker ‘Weev’ Put in Solitary Confinement?

[35] Motherboard – The Feds Are Making It Hurt in Every Way Possible for Weev, But for What?

[36] Ring of Fire Radio -Why Pick on Weev? Why Grey Hackers Need Protection

[37] Electronic Frontier Foundation – U.S. v Auernheimer – Opening Appellate Brief

[38] Daily Dot – It's Sept. 3, and Weev is still not free

[39] Is Weev free?

[40] Hacker Weev's Chilling Conviction Is Overturned

[41] Gizmodo – Weev Is Free to Troll Again After Appeals Cort Tosses Out Conviction

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