Notorious hacker Albert Gonzalez agrees to plead guilty to having a role in the theft of data from millions of credit and debit cards. Gonzalez, who has been tied by authorities to a cyber-crimewave that hit companies from Heartland Payment Systems to Hannaford Bros., now faces up to 25 years in prison.
Reputed hacker Albert
man tied by investigators
to several major data breaches, has agreed to plead guilty to a
variety of charges, according to reports.
Under the plea agreement,
Gonzalez, 28, will face a maximum of 25 years in prison. According to
authorities, he is at the center of a ring of cyber-thieves who swiped
credit and debit card
information from companies ranging from Heartland to
Barnes & Noble.
The deal reportedly covers
Massachusetts. Additional charges are still
pending in New Jersey.
Gonzalez and 10 other
people from five countries were charged in 2008 with stealing 41 million credit
and debit card numbers from several retailers, including Barnes & Noble,
Boston Market, OfficeMax and
Companies. Roughly two weeks ago, he
was indicted again
-this time in federal district court in
New Jersey-for hacking into Heartland Payment
System, 7-Eleven and Hannaford Bros. and making off with more than 130 million
The indictment filed
against Gonzalez in
of a sophisticated cyber-crime ring. Gonzalez and his cohorts
breached the corporations' security with SQL injection attacks and then planted
malware on the companies' systems to intercept card data.
When they announced the
indictment in New Jersey, U.S. Department of Justice officials
said the success of the investigation was in part due to the companies taking a
proactive approach to working with law enforcement.
marks the continued success of law enforcement in tracking down cutting edge
hacking schemes committed by hackers working together across the globe," said
Ralph J. Marra Jr., acting U.S. Attorney, in a statement.