Feeds

NY man charged with boosting TJX credit hijack

Alleged sniffer mods

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

A New York man has been charged with aiding the alleged leader of the hacking gang accused of stealing more than 40 million credit and debit card numbers from stores owned by TJX Companies and other companies.

Federal prosecutors in Boston accused Stephen Watt, 25, of modifying a sniffer program for Albert Gonzalez, who was indicted earlier this year as the ring leader of a group that broke into networks used by TJ Maxx, BJ's Wholesale Club, OfficeMax, Barnes & Noble, Sports Authority, Forever 21, and DSW. As recently as January, Watt "edited the 'blabla' sniffer utilized by the conspirators" and was stored on a server in Latvia, federal charging papers allege.

Watt is charged with a single count of conspiracy and faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine if convicted.

Gonzalez, who has pleaded not guilty, had already been arrested in 2003 for access device fraud in 2003. During the more recent investigation, Gonzalez was working as a confidential informant for the Secret Service, but federal officials say they were unaware he was criminally involved in the case.

According to prosecutors, Gonzalez oversaw a criminal enterprise that carried out some of the biggest identity thefts in US history. Breaches into TJ Maxx and other stores owned by TJX are believed to have netted personal information belonging to more than 45 million people.

The group preyed off of stores that used insecure wireless networks to zap customer's personal information to credit card processors. The gang allegedly stored stolen information on encrypted servers in eastern Europe and the US. They converted the data to cash by creating counterfeit credit and debit cards with the information and using the cards to withdraw "tens of thousands of dollars at a time from ATMs," and and by selling some of the account details to others, prosecutors have alleged.

The charging of Watt comes about six weeks after Damon Patrick Toey of Miami pleaded guilty to his involvement in the criminal conspiracy and agreed to testify against the other defendants in the case. A few weeks later, a second co-defendant, Christopher Scott, 25, of Miami, also pleaded guilty. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
14 antivirus apps found to have security problems
Vendors just don't care, says researcher, after finding basic boo-boos in security software
'Things' on the Internet-of-things have 25 vulnerabilities apiece
Leaking sprinklers, overheated thermostats and picked locks all online
iWallet: No BONKING PLEASE, we're Apple
BLE-ding iPhones, not NFC bonkers, will drive trend - marketeers
Only '3% of web servers in top corps' fully fixed after Heartbleed snafu
Just slapping a patched OpenSSL on a machine ain't going to cut it, we're told
How long is too long to wait for a security fix?
Synology finally patches OpenSSL bugs in Trevor's NAS
Secure microkernel that uses maths to be 'bug free' goes open source
Hacker-repelling, drone-protecting code will soon be yours to tweak as you see fit
Israel's Iron Dome missile tech stolen by Chinese hackers
Corporate raiders Comment Crew fingered for attacks
Tor attack nodes RIPPED MASKS off users for 6 MONTHS
Traffic confirmation attack bared users' privates - but to whom?
Roll out the welcome mat to hackers and crackers
Security chap pens guide to bug bounty programs that won't fail like Yahoo!'s
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.