Hacker 'stole 130m credit card numbers'

A former US government informant was charged over the country's largest case of credit and debit card data theft.

Albert Gonzalez, 28, is accused of stealing 130 million accounts on top of 40 million he stole previously.

Gonzalez, of Florida, broke his record for identity theft by hacking into retail networks, according to prosecutors, although they say his illicit computer exploits ended when he went to jail on charges stemming from an earlier case.

He was an ex-informant for the US Secret Service, which he helped hunt hackers, authorities say. But they said the agency later found out that he had also been working with criminals and feeding them information on investigations, warning off at least one individual.

Gonzalez, already in jail awaiting trial in another hacking case, was indicted in the state of New Jersey and charged with conspiring with two other unidentified suspects to steal the private information. Prosecutors say the goal was to sell the stolen data to others.

Prosecutors say Gonzalez, known online as "soupnazi", targeted customers of convenience store giant 7-Eleven and supermarket chain Hannaford Brothers. He also targeted Heartland Payment Systems, a New Jersey-based card payment processor.

According to the indictment, Gonazalez and two Russian co-conspirators would hack into corporate computer networks and secretly place "malware", or malicious software, that would allow them back-door access to the networks later to steal data.

Gonzalez faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted on the new charges. His lawyer did not immediately return a call for comment.

He is awaiting trial next month in New York state for allegedly helping hack the computer network of the national restaurant chain Dave and Buster's.

The US Justice Department said the new case represented the largest alleged credit and debit card data breach charged in the US, based on a scheme that began in October 2006.

Gonzalez allegedly devised a sophisticated attack to penetrate the computer networks, steal the card data and send that data to computer servers in California, Illinois, Latvia, the Netherlands and Ukraine.

Last year the justice department announced additional charges against Gonzalez and others for hacking retail companies' computers for the theft of about 40 million credit cards. At the time, that was believed to have been the biggest single case of hacking private computer networks to steal credit card data, puncturing the electronic defences of retailers including T.J. Maxx, Barnes & Noble, Sports Authority and OfficeMax.

Prosecutors say Gonzalez was the ringleader of the hackers in that case.

At the time of those charges, officials said the alleged thieves were not computer geniuses, just opportunists who used a technique called "wardriving", which involved cruising through different areas with a laptop and looking for accessible wireless internet signals.

Once they located a vulnerable network, they installed so-called "sniffer programs" that captured credit and debit card numbers as they moved through a retailer's processing networks.

Gonzalez faces a possible life sentence if convicted in that case.

Restaurants are among the most common targets for hackers, experts say, because they often fail to update their anti-virus software and other computer security systems.

News
The clocks go forward an hour at 1am on Sunday 30 March
news
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor finds himself in a forest version of London in Doctor Who episode 'In the Forest of the Night'
TVReview: Is the Doctor ever going stop frowning? Apparently not.
Sport
footballMatch report: Real fight back to ruin Argentinian's debut
News
Bruce, left, with Cream bandmates Ginger Rogers, centre, and Eric Clapton in 1967
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Money
Welcome to tinsel town: retailers such as Selfridges will be Santa's little helpers this Christmas, working hard to persuade shoppers to stock up on gifts
news
News
i100
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Architect Frank Gehry is regarded by many as the most important architect of the modern era
arts + entsGehry has declared that 98 per cent of modern architecture is "s**t"
Arts and Entertainment
Soul singer Sam Smith cleared up at the Mobo awards this week
arts + entsSam Smith’s Mobo triumph is just the latest example of a trend
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Maths Teacher

£110 - £200 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Secondary Maths Teacher for spe...

Business Analyst - Surrey - Permanent - Up to £50k DOE

£40000 - £50000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

***ASP.NET Developer - Cheshire - £35k - Permanent***

£30000 - £35000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

***Solutions Architect*** - Brighton - £40k - Permanent

£35000 - £40000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

Day In a Page

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker