TJX sniffer author jailed for two years
First of the gang
The malware coder who wrote the sniffer program used in the infamous TJX credit card heist has been jailed for two years.
Stephen Watt, 25, from New York, was also order to spend a further three years on probation following his release. He was also ordered to pay $171.5m in restitution.
Watts was part of a gang led by Alberto Gonzalez that captured more than 40 million credit and debit card records from TJX and other retailers between 2003 and 2007. The gang typically used the insecure wireless networks of retail branches to launch deeper attacks on corporate systems, ultimately targeting credit card databases.
A statement by the Attorney General's Office in Boston explains that "Watt modified and provided a 'sniffer' program used by the conspirators to monitor and capture the data crossing TJX’s computer network". The New Yorker pleaded guilty to fraud and cybercrime offences in October 2008 prior to a sentencing hearing last week.
Watt, a seven foot tall former Morgan Stanley software engineer (see Wired's profile/sentencing story here), is the first of the gang to be sentenced. ®
When sentenced to restitution, it merely means that all known assetts may be targeted and tagged for sale or liquidation to pay it off. Any amount left over is setup on a payment schedule with the Prosecutor's Office (or Clerk's Office depending on the Court) based on known salary so that the person may maintain a "liveable wage".
This could last all the rest of his life, if they don't find the funds (not necessarily cash) he stole and only have purchased items, goods, etc. that he held onto or stored. Perpetually paying up to 50% of his weekly gross wage... which could be around $175 if he lands minimum wage.
But, if they find the remainder of the funds, he tries to access them, etc. or anything else they want to harrass him for while under the payment structure, it provides an easy in for them.
neither w00-w00, nor p00-p00... just b00
long story ahead. dad's here, go on
Seven foot tall?
So he's been sent down for a long stretch?