TJX kingpin pleads guilty to Heartland hack

TJX kingpin pleads guilty to Heartland hack
TJX kingpin pleads guilty to Heartland hack 

By John Leyden
The Register
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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