AT&T iPad Hacker Found Guilty: Report

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) - It's a fine line between trying to warn the world about an online vulnerability and being called a hacker. Just ask Andrew Auernheimer.

Two years ago, the 26-year old computer expert announced that he had found, on AT&T's ( T) Web site, where the telecom giant was storing more than 100,000 email addresses of Apple ( AAPL) iPad owners/subscribers. He said he wanted to warn everyone - AT&T, Apple and the general public - that the information wasn't secure.

AT&T - and U.S. prosecutors - saw it differently.

Late yesterday, Auernheimer was found guilty, in Federal court in Newark, N.J., on one count of conspiracy to gain access to computers and one count of identity theft. According to Wired, the jury decided the case within hours.

Auernheimer faces as much as 10 years in prison as well as fines totaling $500,000. Sentencing has been delayed pending a possible plea agreement.

A co-defendant in the case pleaded guilty to similar charges back in June. Daniel Spitler admitted to creating what he called the "iPad 3G Account Slurper" and then used it to gain access to AT&T servers, gather e-mail addresses and 3G iPad information.

--Written by Gary Krakow in New York.

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Gary Krakow is TheStreet's senior technology correspondent.