TJX hacker gets 20-year jail sentence

TJX hacker gets 20-year jail sentence

Summary: The mastermind hacker behind the TJX and Hannaford data breaches has been sentenced to 20 years in jail.

TOPICS: Security

Convicted cyber-criminal Albert Gonzalez, the mastermind hacker behind the TJX and Hannaford data breaches, was today sentenced to 20 years in jail.

According to Wired's Kim Zetter, the sentence relates to hacks into TJX, Office Max, Dave & Busters restaurant chain, Barnes & Noble and a string of other companies.  He still faces sentencing in the Hannaford case.

Gonzalez, 28, who dubbed his criminal enterprise “Operation Get Rich or Die Tryin’,” argued in court filings that his only motive was technical curiosity and an obsession with conquering computer networks. But chat logs the government obtained showed Gonzalez confiding in one of his accomplices that his goal was to earn $15 million from his schemes, buy a yacht and then retire.

The government claimed in its sentencing memo that companies, banks and insurers lost close to $200 million, and that Gonzalez’s credit and debit card thefts “victimized a group of people whose population exceeded that of many major cities and some states.”

Gonzalez’s crimes were committed mostly between 2005 and 2008 while he was drawing a $75,000 salary working for the U.S. Secret Service as a paid undercover informant.

Topic: Security

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  • Bye bye

    And keep your back covered where you're heading scuzbucket.

    [i]Gonzalez?s crimes were committed mostly between 2005 and 2008 while he was drawing a $75,000 salary working for the U.S. Secret Service as a paid undercover informant.[/i]

    Not even a poor bastard which might have mitigated things. pffftt
    • Figures.

      The government needs to protect us from itself, as usual.
      • Money for nothing

        [i]The government needs to protect us from itself, as usual. [/i]

        Wha? You mean, for squashing a snitch who chose to overstep the call of duty? You know, agents of the status quo don't like being played for dopes either, right?

        Look, the punk has formidable hacking skills he could have put toward something worthwhile as opposed to self-aggrandizement (of the distinctly illegal kind). Instead he chose to pimp agencies that simply pass their losses onto hapless client bases (you and me and little old ladies with pensions) to cover by way of increased premiums and prices.

        Not that Hotshot Al could give a hoot. He'd be sunning in the Bahamas, laughing up his sleeve as he strolled to the local bank - and then favorite seaside watering-hole. This crap has become the new American Dream of Wall Street shysters, stooges and scores of small time losers alike - strive for MONEY FOR NOTHING.

        Screw that. Be productive, or pay for screwing those who can least afford such losses - yeah, the unwashed working stiffs of the world - be it directly or indirectly.
        • My bad. I thought the article said he was part of the government.

          [b] [/b]
    • Interesting, isn't it?

      Interesting, isn't it? Have you noticed how laws that benefit the powerful are 'better' in some way? The sanctions are tougher and we rabble are the more likely ones to break laws; moreover, the 'beneficial' clauses act like affirmative action for those who benefit from them.

      If you leave your house unlocked and someone enters and steals something it's just stealing.

      On the other hand, if your house is locked and someone breaks in and steals the same object then that's break and enter/burglary--a much more serious crime!

      As most computers are effectively unlocked these days, why then was Gonzalez given a sentence equivalent to burglary?

      No, the law is not an ass, it was deliberately designed this way. This is what happens when those 'citizens' who are more 'equal' than the rest of us exercise more effective control over the legislature than we ordinary citizens are able to.

      It's just another--almost imperceptible--instance of how our democracies are crumbling before us.
      • Oh I forgot to mention another example of heavy-handed law.

        Oh I forgot to mention another example of heavy-handed law introduced by the powerful for the purposes of keeping the masses under control: that of the RIAA versus Joel Tenenbaum:

        Inappropriate heavy-handed law has screwed Tenenbaum into the ground as a warning and example that we masses are not to mess with the likes of the RIAA.

        Power is everything, they have it in abundance, we've precious little.
  • RE: TJX hacker gets 20-year jail sentence

    what a dork. he had a good job and blew it

    dont drop the soap buddy lol
  • Looks like a happy ending

    Should have given him 21 years
  • victim celebrates

    I think I'll have a little lunch party today to celebrate this. I was one of the millions of victims of the TJX breaches and had to replace my main credit card twice as a result. Each time the process was a major pain in the keister. 20 years seems a little harsh compared to what I went through, but I guess if you multiply that by all the victims it seems more appropriate.
  • Who got the other $185 million ?

    It says he wanted only $15 million and then retire. But companies, banks and insurers lost $200 million. Where did the remaining $185 million go ? Would this sound like some white wash scheme or some other fraud ?

    Also I don't see how an insurer can lose money in this case? People probably paid for insurance, were duped by this criminal, and then should have gotten some insurance payouts. Does not mean insurance company lost money because of it. Or am I being naive here ?
    • The cost of cracking is larger than the benefit

      If someone breaks into your car smashing the window and rips the console to remove the $100 stereo:
      What would you say was the benefit for the thief? probably less than $100 as he'll need to sell the stereo in the black market.

      What would you say was your loss?
      100 Replace Stereo
      500 deductible from insurance company
      ??? in increased insurance premiums
      300 in a new alarm and security system for your car
      200 your time reporting it and doing all the paper work

      Do you want me to keep going?

      I hope this explains how the loss to the companies is many times larger than the benefit to the cracker.

      NOTE: Hacking is a fun and worthy activity (check the dictionary) Cracking and steeling are not.

      Hack :Computers. to devise or modify (a computer program), usually skillfully.
      • But..

        ..unless he was purposefully trying to cause damage, why would damage be done "breaking into" a computer?

        I mean there is no actual force involved. A better analogy would be finding a legal loophole that allowed you to sue someone who did nothing wrong.
        • More analogies

          A guy picks the lock from your home, sleeps in your bed, watches your TV.

          Even if he does not break or steal anything, would you call the police to investigate once you notice it? Do you think he can be charged?

          Even more in this case where, as I understand, there was actually data theft.
          • Okay, that's an even better analogy.

            Just add in "and makes a copy of your credit card number before leaving" and it's perfect.
    • Overseas co-conspirators

      Other coverage indicates that Gonzalez was only one of multiple people involved in committing these crimes. He had co-conspirators in the U.S., Turkey and Russia. He identified ways of hacking into commercial credit card systems used to process credit card payments for purchases, and provided access to others who used the credit card information to steal money. Most of the other $185 million went to Turkey and Russia.
  • Ryan, It wasn't his hacking but his craking and steeling

    He claims that he was just hacking.

    He actually got into trouble because he started cracking and stealing.

    Please check your dictionary and don't perpetuate the myth that hacking is illegal.

    Hacking: Computers. to devise or modify (a computer program), usually skillfully.
  • RE: TJX hacker gets 20-year jail sentence

    Good luck to him and his new $1 a day job as pretty boy biatch to Bubba.

    Hope the little a'ss hole gets punked 3 times a day.
  • This is quite different....

    from yesterday's responses on how much time he should get.

    A lot of talk about how the expense associated with a prison sentence wasn't justifiable, because it was white collar crime.

    I'm glad they threw the book at him. Statistics show that he will still serve only a third of his sentence at most.
  • yaaaaaaaay

    may you rot in hell. And may a wire brush be used
    regularly to remind you of the just fate awaiting all
    hackers crackers and perverts exploiting folks around
    the world. Maybe an internet collection should be
    started to finance the albert entertainment committee
    in jail. Ready for daily scrub alby? Up the ass alby?

    Now to bring down the music mafiaa, entertainment
    mafiaa and medical mafiaa and their stooges in
    government and law enforcement.

    The brush of truth and justice awaits
  • RE: TJX hacker gets 20-year jail sentence

    I think that in addition to very stiff jail sentences the law should be changed to allow his hands to be cut off so that he will not be able to cheat using his computers for the rest of his damn life! Something like what the muslim do to thieves...