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Caught in the System, Ex-Hacker Is Stalked by His Past
From: InfoSec News <alerts () infosecnews org>
Date: Thu, 25 Apr 2013 00:06:25 -0500 (CDT)
By Kim Zetter
Early last week, before the suspects were identified in the Boston
Marathon bombings, a U.S. probation officer and his supervisor visited
the Manhattan apartment of programmer Stephen Watt with a question: Did
Watt happen to know anything about the attack?
“He said, ‘We want to ask you about this Boston thing. I think you know
what we’re talking about. I’m talking about the attacks,’” Watt recalls.
“Then he said, ‘If you know any rumors that you heard about beforehand
or even afterwards, please [tell us] through your lawyer.’”
They told Watt they weren’t accusing him of anything, just that he
should come forward if he had any information. Watt and his wife were
shocked by the random inquiry. But in some ways, it’s part and parcel of
Watt’s new life as a hacker ex-con.
Watt, a striking 7-foot-tall software engineer, once had a bright future
coding software for a maker of real-time stock trading systems. Then a
small packet-sniffing program he wrote for a friend got him embroiled in
a multi-million-dollar bank card heist that netted him a two-year prison
sentence and a hefty restitution judgment. Watt went from having a
promising career on Wall Street to living in a grim cell in a high-rise
prison in Seattle, where blacked-out windows blocked the natural light,
and the absence of outdoor exercise facilities meant he didn’t breathe
much fresh air for two years.
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- Caught in the System, Ex-Hacker Is Stalked by His Past InfoSec News (Apr 26)