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

GNU/Linux on the Desktop Versus Proprietary Forms

  • Why I use a Mac computer, but an Android phone
    Yes, you could use a flavour of Linux on cheaper hardware, but then you trade the great Mac graphical interface with the ones available to Linux. You can fight me in the comments, but deep down you know I’m right. MacOS comes with Bash, and many of the tools those familiar with Linux would expect to have by default in their favourite distribution, including basics like “whois”, which aren’t installed in Windows by default.
  • Everything you knew about Chromebooks is wrong
    The original assumed vision of the Chromebook platform was a laptop and operating system capable of running only the Chrome web browser. You could do anything you wanted, as long as you wanted to stay on the web at all times. Today, the best new Chromebooks can runs apps from three additional operating systems. Not only do Chromebooks run apps, but they run more apps without dual- or multi-booting than any other computing platform. Chromebooks can run apps from Android, Linux and Windows concurrently in the same session.
  • Games, Tests and GitLab CI
    We are getting midterm of the GNOME 3.30 development cycle and many things already happened in the Games world. I will spare the user facing news for later as today I want to tell you about development features we desperatly needed as maintainers: tests and continuous integration. TL;DR: GLib, Meson, Flatpak and GitLab CI make writing and running tests super easy!

Graphics: Vulkan and Vega M

  • Vulkan Virgl Has Kicked Off For Supporting This Graphics/Compute API Within VMs
    Of the hundreds of projects for this year's Google Summer of Code, there are many interesting GSoC 2018 projects but one of those that I am most excited for is Vulkan-Virgl for getting this modern API supported with hardware acceleration by guest virtual machines. As implied by the name, this effort is based upon the Virgl project started by David Airlie and originally tasked with getting OpenGL acceleration to guest VMs using a fully open-source Linux driver stack. Virgl has been in good shape for a while now with OpenGL, while this summer the hope is to get the Vulkan API support going for opening up VMs to using this high-performance graphics and compute API.
  • AMDVLK Driver Lands Half-Float Additions, Many Other Improvements
    There's been another weekly-ish public code push to the AMDVLK open-source AMD Vulkan Linux driver stack and this time around it's heavy on feature work. There has been a fair amount of changes pertaining to half-float (FP16) support including support for the AMD_gpu_shader_half_float extension, prepping for VK_AMD_gpu_shader_half_float_fetch, FP16 interpolation intrinsics and register settings, and more.
  • Vega M Graphics On Intel Kabylake G CPUs Are Beginning To Work Under Linux
    We have been covering the Linux driver upbringing of "Vega M" for the Vega/Polaris graphics found in select newer Intel "Kabylake G" processors. The code is still in flight before it will work in all released versions of the Linux driver components, but for those willing to build the code or rely upon third party repositories, Vega M is now working on Linux. As I have covered in various past articles, the open-source driver support for Radeon Vega M is queued into DRM-Next for the upcoming Linux 4.18 kernel cycle, Mesa 18.1 albeit with new hardware I always recommend using the latest Git (current Mesa 18.2), and there are also binary GPU microcode files needed too.

Plasma 5.13 – Amazing Tux, How Sweet Plasma

Plasma 5.13 is (going to be) a very nice release. It builds on the solid foundation that is the LTS edition, and adds cool, smart touches. The emphasis is on seamless integration of elements, which is what separates professionals from amateurs. It’s all around how the WHOLE desktop behaves, and not individual programs in isolation. And Plasma is making great strides, offering a polished version of an already mature and handsome product, with extra focus on fonts, media and browser connectivity and good performance. There are some rough patches. Apart from the obvious beta issues, those goes without saying, KDE Connect ought to be a true multi-phone product, the network stack really needs to be spotless, and that means full Microsoft Windows inter-operability, Spectacle should allow for configurable shadows and alpha channel, and I want to see if the decorative backend has been cleaned up, i.e. can you search and install new themes and icons without encountering useless errors and inconsistencies. But all in all, I’m quite impressed. The changes are big and noticeable, and above all, meaningful. You don’t just get features for the sake of it, you get things that improve the quality and consistency of the desktop, that maximize fun and productivity, and there’s deep thought in orchestrating it all together. It ain’t just a random bunch of options that happen to work. I like seeing patterns in things, and I’m happy when there’s functional harmony. This spring season of distro testing hasn’t been fun, and Plasma 5.13 is balm for my weary wrists, so hurting from all that angry typing. More than worth a spin, and highly recommended. Full steam on, Tuxers. Read more Also: This week in Usability & Productivity, part 20

Sad News! Development Stopped for Korora and BackSlash Linux

It seems more and more small distributions are facing a had time. Recently we saw the crisis at Void Linux. Now we have two more small Linux distributions calling it quit, albeit temporarily. Read more