Feds indict alleged cable modem hacker

The US federal government has indicted an Oregon man for allegedly helping customers modify their cable modems to obtain “free” Internet access. ?

According to the Department of Justice (DoJ), Ryan Harris and his company TCNISO developed hardware and software tools that provided unauthorized access to high-speed ISPs by utilizing stolen MAC addresses.

In addition, Harris offered “ongoing” customer support via forums hosted on the TCNISO website. ?

Harris – who is being charged in a six-count indictment – faces a maximum 20 year prison sentence, 3 years of supervised release, a $250,000 fine and restitution on each count.

It should be noted that a former TCNISO customer known as “DShocker” was recently apprehended and charged in federal court with computer intrusion, interstate threats and wire fraud.


PC World explains that the MAC addresses were taken from legitimate subscribers using software created by the accused. ??Harris also allegedly modified a modem configuration file to enable broadband speeds by up to 10 times.

Finally, Harris reportedly designed a product known as “SigmaX” that blocked ISPs from identifiying and probing modified modems.