Feeds

International hacker buried $1m in backyard

Albert Gonzalez fortune forfeited

Protecting against web application threats using SSL

The international hacker who confessed to stealing tens of millions of payment card numbers amassed a fortune worth more than $2.7m, including more than $1m in cash buried in his backyard in Miami.

Albert "Segvec" Gonzalez agreed to forfeit the ill-gotten booty in a guilty plea that was formally entered in federal court in Boston on Friday. It settles two of three pending cases, including one that accused him of hacking into computer networks operated by TJX Companies, Barnes & Noble, OfficeMax, and other companies and making off with data for more than 40 million cards.

The agreement also settles separate charges brought in Brooklyn federal court accusing Gonzalez of stealing card details from servers operated by the Dave & Buster's restaurant chain.

Separate charges are still pending that allege Gonzalez stole an additional 130 million card numbers maintained by Heartland Payment Systems and four other companies. A federal prosecutor in New Jersey, where that case was brought, and a defense attorney representing Gonzalez both declined to comment on the status of that case.

The defense attorney, Rene Palomino Jr., has said that a separate individual named Damon Patrick Toey was the ringleader in the outstanding case, not Gonzalez, as claimed in a federal indictment.

Other items being surrendered as a result of Friday's guilty plea include a Miami condominium, a 2006 BMW 330i, a Tiffany diamond ring and four Rolex watches. Over the past couple years, authorities have seized sundry other items including a Glock 27 firearm with ammunition, a currency counter and a variety of computer gear.

He will be ordered to pay a fine of at least $250,000 and face between 15 and 25 year in federal prison to settle charges brought in Boston. Gonzalez, who was once an informant in a Secret Service investigation into payment card fraud, faces a maximum of 20 years for the charges brought in Brooklyn, which would be served concurrently.

In all, Gonzalez pleaded guilty to 20 felonies, including conspiracy, computer fraud, wire fraud, access device fraud, and aggravated identity theft. In some instances, he breached his targets by driving outside stores and sniffing for vulnerable wireless networks. Once inside their networks, he stole the payment card data and passed it on to associates, who used it to make millions of dollars worth of withdrawals from automatic teller machines.

In other cases, the numbers were used to create fraudulent cards. They laundered the proceeds using anonymous internet-based currencies that were funneled to bank accounts located in Eastern Europe.

Gonzalez has been in custody since he was arrested in 2008. Sentencing has been scheduled for December 8. ®

Reducing the cost and complexity of web vulnerability management

More from The Register

next story
Spies would need SUPER POWERS to tap undersea cables
Why mess with armoured 10kV cables when land-based, and legal, snoop tools are easier?
Early result from Scots indyref vote? NAW, Jimmy - it's a SCAM
Anyone claiming to know before tomorrow is telling porkies
Apple Pay is a tidy payday for Apple with 0.15% cut, sources say
Cupertino slurps 15 cents from every $100 purchase
Israeli spies rebel over mass-snooping on innocent Palestinians
'Disciplinary treatment will be sharp and clear' vow spy-chiefs
YouTube, Amazon and Yahoo! caught in malvertising mess
Cisco says 'Kyle and Stan' attack is spreading through compromised ad networks
Hackers pop Brazil newspaper to root home routers
Step One: try default passwords. Step Two: Repeat Step One until success
China hacked US Army transport orgs TWENTY TIMES in ONE YEAR
FBI et al knew of nine hacks - but didn't tell TRANSCOM
Microsoft to patch ASP.NET mess even if you don't
We know what's good for you, because we made the mess says Redmond
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.