In a move that would make anyone with a smartphone and a modest data plan jealous, a teenager from Virginia, USA has seemingly hacked into the 4G allowance of T-Mobile’s network and gained unlimited data. It sounds like a sub-plot of Amazon’s Mr. Robot with there seems to be truth to the hacking. It was all done by a 17 year old too.
The teenager, Jacob Ajit (seen above), is the mastermind behind the 4G-stealing operation. Not just any small network too, Ajit actually hacked the T-Mobile network, one of the largest mobile providers in the Western world.
T-Mobile originally allowed the teenager to connect to its captive portal, where he was given the option to renew his prepaid plan. It was here that Ajit began to “play around” and ultimately discovered the unlimited allowance of data.
The teenager states that:
“I played around with this portal for a while, clicking on links and trying to escape. Some links failed, and some worked, somewhat randomly”
While Ajit was attempting to see if the random applications would still connect to the internet, he realized that when he conducted a Speedtest, he realised the app was still working as if Ajit had an active data plan. It was during this that he realized he could keep using his data plan, penny-free.
The Speedtest that Ajit conducted specified that his mobile network was still downloading data at 20 MPS, which led the teenager to realise his data plan was still in effect.
He realized that T-Mobile was still allowing the folders named /speedtest and he hosted some files under a folder named /speedtest where he could essentially stream videos “without a data plan.”
Ajit also created a proxy server to continue using this hack in which he used any URL to T-Mobiles configuration without actually using data.
Rather than continuing to exploit this relatively simple hack, Ajit contacted T-Mobile to explain the problem and help them solve it. It does however, point to holes in the systems of major suppliers that are at risk of hacking even by a 17-year old teenager. T-Mobile were lucky that Ajit had the good fortune to come clean about what he had discovered.