Presidential candidate Beto O’Rourkes teenage hacker life

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The kids who hacked Apple are getting off light with some probation and hopefully a lesson well learned.
The kids who hacked Apple are getting off light with some probation and hopefully a lesson well learned.
Image: Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

One sharp Australian teen caught a break this week after being caught hacking tech giant Apple. 

The 17-year-old Adelaide student was one of two teens who were charged with hacking Apple twice, once in 2015 and once in 2017, and downloading a digital ton of internal documents. 

After putting the teen on nine months of probation instead of jail time, Magistrate David White said, according to ABC News Australia: “He is clearly someone who is a gifted individual when it comes to information technology, that being said, those who have this advantage of being gifted doesn’t give them the right to abuse that gift … You must remain on the straight and narrow and use your gifts for good rather than evil.”

It probably helped the teen’s cause that Apple reported it suffered no financial loss or damage due to the hack. 

The Adelaide hacker’s attorney pointed out that he was only 13 when the first breach occurred and that the teen hoped it would lead to a job with Apple, ABC News Australia reports.

“He had no idea about the seriousness of the offence and hoped that when it was discovered that he might gain employment at this company.

“He didn’t know this was going to lead to anything other than a job at the end of it, [this] happened in Europe, a similar person got caught and they ended up getting employed by the company.”

The other hacker, from Melbourne, was sentenced to eight months probation last year. He was 16 at the time of the hack and was caught after bragging on WhatsApp and storing the stolen files in a folder called, shockingly, “hacky hack hack.”

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An Apple spokesman referred Mashable to the statement it issued after the ruling in the first case:

At Apple, we vigilantly protect our networks and have dedicated teams of information security professionals that work to detect and respond to threats. In this case, our teams discovered the unauthorized access, contained it, and reported the incident to law enforcement.  

We regard the data security of our users as one of our greatest responsibilities and want to assure our customers that at no point during this incident was their personal data compromised. 

Here’s hoping the hackers take the lesson to heart and, like the judge said, use their talents for the benefit of technology.

WATCH: Presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke’s teenage hacker life

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