Cable Modem Hacker Faces Four Decades Behind Bars

Dennis Faas's picture

A 26-year-old who made cash on the side by selling cable modems he'd hacked now faces a potential prison sentence longer than those handed down to murderers. New Bedford, Massachusetts' Matthew Delorey faces up to forty years behind bars.

Delorey began his campaign by posting ads for the modified cable modems on Craigslist, followed by an even more tempting series of YouTube videos featuring names like "How to Get Free Internet Free Cable Internet Comcast or any Cable ISP--100% works," and "How to bypass Comcast registration page with premod cable modem SB5100, SB 5101." This wasn't exactly the work of a smooth criminal. (Source:

Massmodz was Delorey's web site and he did sell the hacked modems to people from New Bedford and beyond.

How did he Modify the Cable Modems?

Because the devices permit a user to change something called a MAC identifier, Delorey was able to convince cable networks that the hacked modems were being used by upstanding, paying individuals. In the end, users had access to all the free cable Internet their eyes could handle.

Unfortunately for Delorey, his operations were anything but covert and soon after attracted the attention of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The FBI purchased two of Delorey's hacked modems, which were then sent to Motorola to verify that they had indeed been compromised, and Delorey was arrested at his home late last week.

Up to 40 Years Prison, $500,000 in Fines

Delorey, who at the age of 26 should be starting a legitimate career, now faces charges of wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Each of those two charges carries maximum sentences of two decades in jail and a $250,000 fine, meaning he could be on the hook for forty years' prison time and half a million dollars in fines.

What's most surprising about the case is that Delorey had the gall to flaunt the authorities. The government has been cracking down on cable hacking for well over a year now, coming down hard in early 2009 with the prosecution of Thomas Swingler, owner of the site Another suit, that against Ryan Harris, followed in November. (Source:

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