VoIP hacker faces 25 years in federal prison
February 5, 2010
A VoIP (voice over IP) hacker residing in Florida has admitted he made $1,126,500 by selling hundreds of thousands of minutes of voice over IP calls and then simultaneously re-routing them through the networks of bonafide phone companies in the U.S., Canada and abroad.
According to various court documents, Edwin Pena pleaded guilty to 2 felonies in connection with the hacking scheme, which lasted between mid-2004 through the end of 2006. He was apprehended in October 2009 in Mexico after skipping out on a $100,000 bond secured by the mother of his previous girlfriend that also lived in Florida.
The hacker appeared in U.S. District Court in New Jersey on Feb. 3rd and also pleaded guilty to wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud and unauthorized access to a protected computer.
Pena faces a maximum of 25 years in U.S. federal prison and fines of at least $500,000 at sentencing, which is scheduled for May 14.
Pena and cohort Robert Moore were both arrested in June 2006 and accused of carrying out an elaborate scenario that routed more than 10 million minutes of VoIP calls over the networks of a dozen or so telecommunications providers without their permission.
They then breached the networks by using brute-force attacks that reduced the security telephone prefixes needed to gain access to the network.
Because the crimes piggybacked off the resources of others, virtually all the revenue was profit. As a result, Pena was able to sell long-distance calls for as low as four-tenths of a cent per minute, a fraction of what legitimate providers charged at that time.
To further disguise the source of the attacks, the two criminals rerouted the calls through the computers of third parties. From June 2005 to the following October, Moore used a single AT&T broadband account to perform more than 6 million scans that looked for vulnerable machines, prosecutors said.
Pena then laundered the proceeds through several bank accounts and also spent lavishly on Miami real estate, a 42-foot Sea Ray Mercruiser boat, a 2005 BMW, a Mercedes 350 and several other luxury vehicles, U.S. prosecutors said.
After changing his name to avoid being caught, Pena paid Moore the princely sum of $20,000 for his "hacker services".
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