Was a nine-year prison term too harsh a sentence for a wardriver that was stealing credit card numbers? According to a three-judge panel in the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, it was justified. Showing just how much more digital crime is being recognized, the fear of digital thieves is becoming so great that for even minor cases we are seeing harsh penalties. In this particular case, two individuals were attempting to steal credit card numbers from a hardware store. While they only managed to pilfer a minor amount of cards before being caught, the “potential damage” was what put them behind bars:
"We find that the district court did not err in using Salcedo's admitted intentions to harm 250 or more victims and to traffic the stolen information to enhance his sentence," the decision reads.
The plan was rather interesting, and one that further proves the need for enhanced security, especially among wireless networks. They had discovered an open wireless network at a particular store, which opened the doors for them to reach the internal network of the entire chain. Later, they were able to install a modified version of a credit card processing program to capture the card numbers. Do petty thieves deserve sentences such as this?