back to article TJX sniffer author jailed for two years

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 …


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  1. Matthew Anderson

    2 years?

    Not bad for America, I was expecting 200 years or something daft. I can only assume he struck a deal.

  2. Gordon Pryra

    $171 million

    2 years in jail vs the chance of getting that kind of cash


    What happens if he can't come up with the full amount? He must have lost a large proportion in laundering costs along the way, unless thats what hes got left over.

    In which cash, he prooves crime does pay (and very nicely too)

  3. Anonymous Coward

    sniffer program

    "Watt modified and provided a 'sniffer' program used by the conspirators to monitor and capture the data crossing TJX’s computer network".

    How much jail time did the TJX technical people get for not noticing the presence of such a 'sniffer' program for up to ten months, until the external banks noticed the fraud. Why didn't TJX use end-to-end encryption. I mean it is an online bank. Perhaps thieves would try and knock it over ?

    I assume they were 'PCI DSS' complaint, which begs the question as to what use it is, apart from giving some bureaucrat another form to fill in ...

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters


    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.

  5. Michael Fremlins

    American justice = joke

    Where is this fellow going to get $171 million? It is that sort of sentence that makes American justice a joke. It's the sort of thing thought up by a 2 year old.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Should have gotten 20 years plus costs and fines

    Letting scumbags off this easy is a bad precedent IMO.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    The $171 million probably doesn't even cover the losses this criminal caused. All criminals should make financial restitution, cover costs of prosecution plus costs of incarceration and then be punished for their crimes. Perhaps for every $10K they are short of paying the above costs of crime, they should have a year added to their sentence. Punishment for crimes is meant to be a deterrent. Life in prison is a pretty good deterrent for many criminals.

  8. Fibbles

    Re: @Joke

    By your logic rich criminals would spend less time in prison than poorer ones...

  9. Etrien Dautre

    Just Only 17M Credit Cards...

    ... for the Office @ average $10. So does begin the service till the last breath.

    2 years for Fuion: and how much would you charge for these retailers using unencrypted wifi?

  10. Dr Patrick J R Harkin

    Seven foot tall?

    So he's been sent down for a long stretch?

  11. Etrien Dautre

    neither w00-w00, nor p00-p00... just b00

    long story ahead. dad's here, go on

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