Federal prosecutors allege that a 26-year-old man and the company he founded developed and distributed products used to hack cable modems.
Prosecutors unsealed charges Monday against part-time San Diego resident Ryan Harris, alleging he directed his company to produce and distribute hardware and software that enabled customers to access high-speed Internet without paying for it.
Consumers typically pay in the neighborhood of $40 for a cable modem and the same amount every month for Internet service.
The indictment also alleges that TCNISO and Harris, who also lives in Redmond, Ore., offered customer support to hackers. Harris faces charges of conspiracy, computer intrusion and wire fraud. He faces a possible maximum 20-year sentence.
A Massachusetts juvenile who prosecutors said was a Harris customer was charged last year with computer intrusion, interstate threats and wire fraud.
There was no answer at a California telephone listing for Harris. It could not immediately be determined if he has an attorney.