Feeds

International hacker buried $1m in backyard

Albert Gonzalez fortune forfeited

Using blade systems to cut costs and sharpen efficiencies

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. ®

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

More from The Register

next story
NEW, SINISTER web tracking tech fingerprints your computer by making it draw
Have you been on YouPorn lately, perhaps? White House website?
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
LibreSSL RNG bug fix: What's all the forking fuss about, ask devs
Blow to bit-spitter 'tis but a flesh wound, claim team
Black Hat anti-Tor talk smashed by lawyers' wrecking ball
Unmasking hidden users is too hot for Carnegie-Mellon
Manic malware Mayhem spreads through Linux, FreeBSD web servers
And how Google could cripple infection rate in a second
Don't look, Snowden: Security biz chases Tails with zero-day flaws alert
Exodus vows not to sell secrets of whistleblower's favorite OS
Own a Cisco modem or wireless gateway? It might be owned by someone else, too
Remote code exec in HTTP server hands kit to bad guys
prev story

Whitepapers

Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
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.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.