An infamous computer hacker has agreed to plead guilty to a number of charges, including conspiracy, wire fraud and aggravated identity theft. According to the Associated Press, Albert Gonzalez will serve a sentence of 15 to 25 years after clinching a plea bargain with federal prosecuters.
In addition, Gonzalez is expected to forfeit approximately $2.8 million in cash, a Miami condo, a car and an unspecified amount of jewelry.
Gonzalez - arrested in 2008 - once acted as an informant for the US Secret Service. Nevertheless, he was recently indicted by the US Department of Justice (DoJ) for allegedly executing SQL injection attacks against a number of computer networks and conspiring to steal data relating to more than 130 million credit cards.
"In a two-count indictment alleging conspiracy and conspiracy to engage in wire fraud, Gonzales, AKA 'segvec,' 'soupnazi' and 'j4guar17,' is charged, along with two unnamed co-conspirators, with using a sophisticated hacking technique called an 'SQL injection attack,' which seeks to exploit computer networks by finding a way around the network's firewall to steal credit and debit card information," the DoJ explained in an official statement.
"Among the corporate victims named in the indictment are Heartland Payment Systems, a New Jersey-based card payment processor; 7-Eleven Inc., a Texas-based nationwide convenience store chain; and Hannaford Brothers Co. Inc., a Maine-based supermarket chain."
The indictment - which details the largest alleged credit and debit card data breach in the United States - claims that Gonzales and his co-conspirators began researching various credit and debit card systems in October 2006. The trio then devised a "sophisticated attack" to breach the networks and steal credit/debit card data which was transfered to servers based in California, Illinois, Latvia, the Netherlands and Ukraine.
In addition, the indictment alleges that Gonzales and his co-conspirators utilized "sophisticated" hacker techniques to cover their tracks and to avoid detection.