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WarDriving Now a Crime

Charges against Timmins were dropped, and he pleaded guilty instead to a new charge of unauthorized access to a protected computer. Prosecutors said that may be the first conviction in the nation for "wardriving." In wardriving, hackers search for vulnerable wireless Internet connections. The original indictment charged that Botbyl and Timmins drove around Southfield, Mich., in April 2003, searching for a vulnerable connection, "using a laptop computer equipped with a wireless card and a wireless antenna."
3 admit hacking into Lowe's computer
Men conspired to steal credit card information, authorities say

The Associated Press
Updated: 4:17 p.m. ET Aug. 5, 2004

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Three Michigan men have pleaded guilty to charges that they conspired to hack into the national computer system of the Lowe's home improvement chain to steal credit card information, federal authorities said Wednesday.

Under plea agreements, Brian Salcedo, Adam Botbyl and Paul Timmins pleaded guilty to just handful of the 16 charges each man originally faced, the U.S. Attorney's office said.

Under a plea agreement, Salcedo, of Whitmore Lake, Mich., pleaded guilty to four counts: conspiracy; transmitting computer code to cause damage to a computer; unauthorized computer access; and computer fraud.

The charges carry a maximum penalty of 25 years in prison. Under terms of the agreement, prosecutors will recommend that Salcedo serve about half that, 12 years and seven months.

Botbyl, of Waterford, Mich., pleaded guilty to one count, conspiracy, with a recommendation that he serve three years, five months. He could have faced five years.

Charges against Timmins were dropped, and he pleaded guilty instead to a new charge of unauthorized access to a protected computer. Prosecutors said that may be the first conviction in the nation for "wardriving."

In wardriving, hackers search for vulnerable wireless Internet connections. The original indictment charged that Botbyl and Timmins drove around Southfield, Mich., in April 2003, searching for a vulnerable connection, "using a laptop computer equipped with a wireless card and a wireless antenna."

In an indictment handed up in Charlotte in November, federal prosecutors said the trio accessed the wireless network of a Southfield Lowe's store, using that connection to enter the chain's central computer system in North Wilkesboro, N.C., and eventually to reach computer systems in Lowe's stores across the country.

Once inside the central Lowe's system, the men installed a program in the computer systems of several stores that was designed to capture credit card information from customers, the indictment said.

Lowe's officials said the men did not gain access to the company's national database and that they believed all customers' credit card information was secure.
Bah. Misleading headline. 09.Aug.2004 16:53

Bison Boy

It's not wardriving that got the fellows prosecuted, it was their attempt to pilfer credit card data. That's not hacking, it's cracking. The fact that they used wireless to connect to the network is not relevant to the criminal charges.

actually 09.Aug.2004 18:43

clamydia

The word "cracker" originated from the act of "cracking" software--using sophisticated means, usually involving programming skillz, to bypass software protection in order to view its source code and/or burke limitations deliberately engineered into it by its author(s). This in itself was not necessarily immoral by conventional standards; the problems came when people did this in order to distribute the software to others for free. I personally could give a shit if people are getting free, working copies of PhotoShop, but that's a topic for another discussion.

The word "cracker" should NOT be used as a synonym for "computer criminal".