Feeds

Hacker's record credit card theft fetches 20-year sentence

Millions pwned

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Confessed TJX hacker Albert Gonzalez was sentenced to 20 years in federal prison for orchestrating one of the largest thefts of payment card numbers in history.

The sentence, by US District Court Judge Patti Saris, is the lengthiest to be imposed in a US hacking or identity prosecution. Miami-based Gonzalez was also fined $25,000 and still faces restitution charges that could be in the tens of millions of dollars.

Prosecutors told the judge Gonzalez should receive 25 years because he victimized millions of people and cost banks and their insurers as much as $200m. His attorney, Martin Weinberg, challenged that estimate and presented evidence his client suffered from Asperger's Syndrome, a form of autism.

Last year, Gonzalez pleaded guilty in three separate cases brought in Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York. Thursday's sentence in Boston dealt only with the Massachusetts case. A hearing scheduled for Friday will deal with the other two prosecutions.

Prosecutors said Gonzalez led a gang of hackers who conducted war-driving campaigns that identified retailers with weak wireless networks. They then penetrated those networks and installed sniffer programs that siphoned millions of credit and debit card numbers as they were being zapped to payment processors.

The operation targeted a variety of retailers and restaurants including TJX Cos. and BJ's Wholesale Club, Office Max, Barnes & Noble and Dave & Busters restaurant chain. Thursday's sentence came the same day Dave & Busters agreed to implement a comprehensive security program to settle US Federal Trade Commission charges the restaurant left consumers vulnerable to credit card thieves.

During much of the operation, Gonzalez was an informant for the US Secret Service, for which he earned $75,000 a year. Wired.com has much more here. ®

New hybrid storage solutions

More from The Register

next story
Israeli spies rebel over mass-snooping on innocent Palestinians
'Disciplinary treatment will be sharp and clear' vow spy-chiefs
Google recommends pronounceable passwords
Super Chrome goes into battle with Mr Mxyzptlk
Infosec geniuses hack a Canon PRINTER and install DOOM
Internet of Stuff securo-cockups strike yet again
THREE QUARTERS of Android mobes open to web page spy bug
Metasploit module gobbles KitKat SOP slop
'Speargun' program is fantasy, says cable operator
We just might notice if you cut our cables
Reddit wipes clean leaked celeb nudie pics, tells users to zip it
Now we've had all THAT TRAFFIC, we 'deplore' this theft
Snowden, Dotcom, throw bombs into NZ election campaign
Claim of tapped undersea cable refuted by Kiwi PM as Kim claims extradition plot
Apple Pay is a tidy payday for Apple with 0.15% cut, sources say
Cupertino slurps 15 cents from every $100 purchase
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
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 for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
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.