Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

Teen on hacking charges

Filed under
Web

With just a few touches of the keyboard, he can create absolute havoc.

Reuben - not his real name, because he is facing computer hacking-related charges in Auckland's Youth Court - is a new breed of digital delinquent: young, smart and with the power to unlock all your secrets.

His passion for the internet started at the age of 6.

"I did lots of wagging from primary schools and intermediate schools to stay home and work on the computer," he told the Herald on Sunday.

Reuben, now 16, doesn't go to school any more - he left his last school Auckland Grammar after a term because, as he says: "I didn't fit in." Since then he has completed numerous Microsoft courses. "That's easy, but school work is so boring it is not worth doing, but I know I have to do it sometime."

So now he is slowly working through the NCEA via correspondence, leaving him plenty of time to surf the internet "26 hours a day", he jokes.

He is reluctant to talk about exactly what he does, only saying he spends a lot of time chatting to friends.

But in just a few short years, he has gained notoriety for his online activities - and learned a great deal.

For example, he has managed to become the director of five companies, despite being under the age of 18. It was easy, he says. He just filled in the forms and sent them away, and no one in the Companies Office queried his identity or his age.

Now Reuben is accused of exposing flaws in Telecom's cellphone and landline message systems that police say saw him access the voicemail of police, defence staff and politicians, including Auckland mayor Dick Hubbard.

He has been charged with the unauthorised access of a computer and will appear in the Auckland Youth Court on July 14.

He is also accused of using his computer smarts to set up a company which obtained the management rights to a $1 million-plus radio frequency mistakenly deregistered by Sky Television.

On that, he is facing charges brought by the National Enforcement Unit of the Ministry of Economic Development. He also appears on those charges on July 14.

The unit declined to comment on the case. Reuben also won't comment on specifics, but he claims he is not a hacker, and has not been being deliberately malicious.

Rather, he was just letting the public know how easy it was to gain access to information on the internet. "If I shouldn't be in there, why is it so easy to get in?"

By Adrienne Kohler
The New Zealand Herald

More in Tux Machines

Most popular web browsers among Fedora users

Google Chrome is the most popular browser in the world. It is so popular that some call it a new Internet Explorer. But that’s based on global stats. In Red Hat, I’m responsible for web browsers, so I wondered what are the most popular web browsers among Fedora users. So I asked through Fedora accounts on Facebook and Google+: “Which browser do you use the most in Fedora?” Read more

Life in a Post-Container World and Why Linux Will Play a Diminished Role

Containers have actually been with us since the late 1990s, but they are not the end of the story. The real transformation will come with a “serverless” future that will completely overturn the ops ecosystem. Companies will go out of business, new ones will spring to life, and thousands of people will have fundamental changes to their jobs. The shift to a serverless future is much bigger than your normal hype cycle — I believe the current container hoopla is a foreshock preceding a 9.0 quake. Read more

FFmpeg's Leader Resigns, Hopes To Make Libav Developers Come Back

Michael Niedermayer, the leader of the FFmpeg project for the past eleven years, has made a surprise announcement today: he's resigning as its leader. Niedermayer is resigning as he no longer feels he's the best leader for FFmpeg, given the current Libav fork still persisting even after Debian dropped Libav and is returning to FFmpeg. Read more

30 Sys Admins to Follow on SysAdmin Day

Systems administrators: They keep our high-tech world up and running. From capacity planning, to 3 a.m. phone calls, to retiring that 10-year-old server that uses more power than your whole house, sys admins do it all. Open source communities would not be able to thrive without the networks, services, and tools that allow for communication and collaboration, and sys admins are the ones who work thanklessly year-round to keep them going. July 31 is System Administrator Appreciation Day, a day for all of us to express our undying gratitude for sys admins. Sure, you could buy your favorite sys admin cake and ice cream, or perhaps a nice gift card. You could even go as far as not breaking the server for just one day. You also can follow these 30 sys admins. Read more