Ex-teen hacker tells Paris Hilton he's sorry

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5 November 2014

A former teen hacker who stole nude photos from Paris Hilton’s cellphone and swiped a half million dollars from unsuspecting consumers tells NBC News – and his most famous victim — that he’s sorry for what he did.

“Paris, I’m sorry I put your information online,” said Cameron Lacroix. “I should never have done it. I wouldn’t want it done to me.”

But Lacroix, now 26 and about to report to federal prison to begin a four-year sentence, warns that despite security upgrades at major retail chains that have been victimized, he could do it again.

“It was easy. Too easy,” said Lacroix, who doubts the fixes are enough and believes big companies are “absolutely” still vulnerable to hacking.

In a 10-year criminal career, Lacroix, a lifelong resident of New Bedford, Massachusetts, has done everything from hacking the Twitter account of Burger King to forging gift cards to stealing thousands of credit card numbers. He’s even hacked federal law enforcement databases. Authorities estimate that Lacroix, who was known by online handles like “cam0” and “Freak,” has done more than $1 million in damage to private firms.

But Lacroix, a computer obsessive since age 11, says he that when he began hacking he didn’t think he was committing crimes. “It was like a game,” he said. “Like a challenge, I guess.” Hacking was also a refuge from his unhappy home life. His mother died of a drug overdose when he was young, and he dropped out of high school.

Lacroix’s most notorious exploit was among his first. In 2005 at age 16, he became the first hacker to break in to a celebrity cellphone when he cracked the code to Hilton’s Sidekick.

“It all started because I wanted a T-Mobile phone,” he said. “Once I got in there, I realized, ‘Hey, I have access to everybody’s stuff!’” After Hilton did a commercial for the Sidekick, Lacroix guessed she probably owned one. “Sure enough, it was under her name. I went into it and was shocked at what I saw.”

Lacroix published Hilton’s phonebook and messages on the Internet and dumped a trove of nude photos on a website. He watched as the hits started coming.

Hacking gave him a high and a sense of recognition. “I wanted to be a celebrity,” he said. When the Hilton photos went viral online, “it was mind-blowing for me. … I felt famous.

Among those who noticed him, however, were federal officials. They arrested Lacroix and six associates. Lacroix pleaded guilty to hacking Hilton’s phone and making bomb threats to two high schools, and also admitted attacking the LexisNexis database. He served 11 months in a federal juvenile facility, and soon after he got out was sent back to serve more time for violating the terms of his supervised release.

Before he was 21, he was sent to prison again after pleading guilty to racking up thousands in phony gift card purchases. The gift cards were purchased with stolen credit card numbers, but cashiers wouldn’t challenge them – an easy end-run around corporate security.

Source – http://www.nbcnews.com/news/investigations/ex-teen-hacker-tells-paris-hilton-hes-sorry-n239601

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