By John Leyden
30th December 2009
TJX hacking mastermind Albert Gonzalez faces a minimum of 17 years
behind bars after pleading guilty to further cybercrimes.
Gonzalez, 28, of Miami, admitted hacking into the systems of card
processor Heartland Payment Systems, 7-Eleven, and supermarket chain
Hannaford Brothers as part of a plea bargain agreement on Tuesday. The
former federal informant led a gang that exploited wireless security
problems in branch offices and other security flaws to steal tens of
millions of credit and debit card records.
In a plea bargain agreement, Gonzalez admitted that he maintained a
cloud-based hacking service for use in credit card fraud, as an extract
from a DoJ statement explains.
Gonzalez leased or otherwise controlled several servers, or "hacking
platforms", and gave access to these servers to other hackers,
knowing that they would use them to store malicious software, or
"malware," and launch attacks against corporate victims. Malware
used against several of the corporate victims was also found on a
server controlled by Gonzalez. Gonzalez tested malware by running
multiple anti-virus programs in an attempt to ascertain if the
programs detected the malware.
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