Following up on previous Zalud’s Blog coverage, an international computer hacker pleaded guilty Friday to multiple charges relating to hacking activity and credit card fraud, announced Assistant Attorney General of the Criminal Division Lanny A. Breuer, Acting U.S. Attorney for the District of Massachusetts Michael Loucks, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York Benton J. Campbell and Director of the U.S. Secret Service Mark Sullivan. More than 40 million credit and debit card numbers were stolen from major
Albert Gonzalez, 28, of
Gonzalez also pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud relating to hacks into the Dave & Buster's restaurant chain, which were the subject of a May 2008 indictment in the Eastern District of New York. The pleas in both cases were entered before U.S. District Court Judge Patti B. Saris in federal court in
"Consumers must be able to trust that the credit and debit cards they use everyday in thousands of stores around the world are safe from unlawful access," said Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division. "Working together with U.S. Attorneys' Offices around the country and with the invaluable support of law enforcement agencies, we will continue our efforts to identify and prosecute hacking and credit card fraud."
"The investigation and prosecution of identity theft is a top priority of the Department," said Acting U.S. Attorney for the District of Massachusetts Michael Loucks. "In the past 10 years there has been a dramatic growth in the transfer and storage of credit and debit card data on computer networks. It is thus compellingly important that we work hard to investigate and prosecute the theft of personal identity data that citizens entrust to computer networks every day."
"Computer hacking and identity theft pose serious risks to our commercial, personal and financial security," stated U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York Benton J. Campbell. "Hackers, including those who commit their crimes from abroad, will find no refuge from the reach of
"Technology has forever changed the way we do business, virtually erasing geographic boundaries," said U.S. Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan. "However, this case demonstrates that even in the cyber world, there is no such thing as anonymity. The Secret Service, in conjunction with its many law enforcement partners across the
According to the indictments to which Gonzalez pleaded guilty, he and his co-conspirators broke into retail credit card payment systems through a series of sophisticated techniques, including "wardriving" and installation of sniffer programs to capture credit and debit card numbers used at these retail stores. Wardriving involves driving around in a car with a laptop computer looking for accessible wireless computer networks of retailers. Using these techniques, Gonzalez and his co-conspirators were able to steal more than 40 million credit and debit card numbers from retailers. Also according to the indictments, Gonzalez and his co-conspirators sold the numbers to others for their fraudulent use and engaged in ATM fraud by encoding the data on the magnetic stripes of blank cards and withdrawing tens of thousands of dollars at a time from ATMs. According to the indictments, Gonzalez and his co-conspirators concealed and laundered their fraud proceeds by using anonymous Internet-based currencies both within the
Based on the terms of the
Gonzalez remains under indictment for charges brought in August 2009 by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of New Jersey of conspiring to hack into computer networks supporting major