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VoIP hacker gets ten years in a U.S. federal prison

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September 27, 2010

On September 24, a VoIP (voice over IP) hacker was sentenced to ten years in a U.S. federal jail for hacking into the VoIP networks of telecommunications companies in the U.S. and then re-routing millions of minutes of telephone calls over his own system. The hacker was originally from Venezuela but made most of his hacking attempts from Miami, Florida.

Twenty-seven year old Edwin Pena admitted last February that he pocketed more than US $1 million in the scheme, in which he posed as a legitimate reseller of long-distance phone calling services.

By scanning the networks of AT&T, Verizon and other U.S. companies, Pena was able to identify unprotected switch ports through which he could then re-route and transmit more than ten million minutes of unauthorized calls, not just in the U.S. but also overseas.

Pena, who spent most of his time in Florida, was described as the mastermind behind the whole operation. For technical help in identifying vulnerable networks, he turned to a Spokane, Washington, hacker named Robert Moore.

Moore was previously sentenced to two years in U.S. jail for his help in attacking the networks, which included performing more than 6 million scans on AT&T's network alone over a five-month span back in 2005.

Prosecutors say that Pena's scheme caused a loss of over US $1.4 million in less than a year. One of the targeted companies – which was based in Newark, New Jersey, where the case was prosecuted – was billed for more than 500,000 unauthorized phone calls that Pena routed through his illegal network with Moore's help.

Following the arrest of the two men in 2006, Pena fled the United States and engaged authorities in a three-year manhunt through South and Central America.

U.S. marshalls finally apprehended him in Mexico in 2009.

In addition to his ten year jail sentence, Pena was ordered to pay restitution fees of a little more than US $1 million.

He will also be deported back to Venezuela once he completes his time in 2020.

Pena has already surrendered a large number of luxury items that were purchased using the illegal money, including a 40-foot yatch and a 2004 BMW.

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Source: TIRN.

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