Combining old fashion burglary with powerful Wi-Fi receivers enabled three Seattle men to raise $3 million in identity theft and payroll theft. By attaching a powerful Wi-Fi receiver to a vehicle and driving around businessesâ€™ headquarters, Joshuah Allen Witt, John Earl Griffin, and Brad Eugene Lowe managed to profit from accessing more than 50 wireless networks from Seattle businesses.
Where technology failed, burglary prevailed as attackers usually gained access to buildings by forcing locks and breaking windows. On entry, they manually installed keyloggers or other malware on computers to collect passwords and steal sensitive information.
“I commend the businesses who quickly alerted law enforcement about the intrusions on their computer systems,” said U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan, who leads the Justice Department’s Cybercrime and Intellectual Property Enforcement working group. “Without their help, law enforcement could not have put this ring out of business.“
Judge Richard A. Jones who convicted Witt of conspiracy, aggravated identity theft and access-device fraud, told him that the crimes committed will impact individuals for years to come. “For some of these individuals, it will be years, if not a lifetime, to recover from the conduct you engaged in,” said Jones.
U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan also said hefty sentences such as these send a strong message to all those that engage in such activities. These criminal acts lead to a prison time and aggressors should think twice if they think theyâ€™ll get away with it.