An Oregon hardware hacker and author has been charged by coppers after they discovered that he was selling unlocked cable modems that can be used to get extra speed from a broadband provider, or obtain free service.
Ryan Harris, who is better known by his pen name DerEngel, was charged in Boston with a conspiracy count, and charges of aiding and abetting computer intrusion and wire fraud. Harris is the project organizer of TCNiSO, a band of tinkerers specializing in cable modem hacking. For five years the group has been producing tutorials on how to bypass the firmware locks on Motorola Surfboard modems. This invokes soldering a special cable to a hidden terminal inside the device, or exploiting a buffer overflow in the modem's web interface.