Feeds

International hacker buried $1m in backyard

Albert Gonzalez fortune forfeited

Seven Steps to Software Security

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. ®

Mobile application security vulnerability report

More from The Register

next story
Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network
'Prevent people that are passing by to hook up to your network', pleads plod
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
Mozilla fixes CRITICAL security holes in Firefox, urges v31 upgrade
Misc memory hazards 'could be exploited' - and guess what, one's a Javascript vuln
BMW's ConnectedDrive falls over, bosses blame upgrade snafu
Traffic flows up 20% as motorway middle lanes miraculously unclog
LibreSSL RNG bug fix: What's all the forking fuss about, ask devs
Blow to bit-spitter 'tis but a flesh wound, claim team
Attackers raid SWISS BANKS with DNS and malware bombs
'Retefe' trojan uses clever spin on old attacks to grant total control of bank accounts
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
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
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.