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U.S. Hacker Gets 20 Years



12:37 pm on Mar 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

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U.S. Hacker Gets 20 Years [news.bbc.co.uk]
Computer expert Albert Gonzalez has been jailed for 20 years in the US for his part in stealing more than 130 million credit and debit card numbers.

The judge who sentenced him described the case as "the largest and most costly example of computer hacking in US history".

Gonzalez, from Miami, pleaded guilty at his trial in September 2009.

He was accused, along with two Russian co-conspirators, of hacking into retailer payment systems.


11:27 am on Mar 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Hope other hackers and wannabe hackers learn a lesson from the plight of this guy who will spend best years of his life in jail.


1:29 pm on Mar 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

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There have been others handed long sentences for white collar crimes. They get out in a much shorter span and then make fortunes writing books and milking their infamy for all it's worth. Think Nick Leeson, Frank Abagnale Jr etc etc.


3:19 pm on Mar 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Out in 5 with a million dollar movie deal and lifetime employment with DHS. Count on it.


3:27 pm on Mar 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

All hackers must be tried & brought justice if we wanno have a safe net biz. Thanks US Judge for his gutt doing this.


3:32 pm on Mar 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member kaled is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

Amateur hacks may lead to job offers, but professional criminal hacks of this nature are not going lead to a job in Homeland Security.

As for book and film rights, anyone is free to write the book and/or screenplay and make the film so if there's a decent story to tell, he'll have to be quick.



8:22 pm on Mar 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Interestingly enough, Cybercrime doesn't disqualify him from a job with DHC...

Code of Federal Regulations
Sec. 108.33 Employment history, verification and criminal history records checks.

To satisfy Part 2 of the investigation the criminal records check must not
disclose that the individual has been convicted or found not guilty by
reason of insanity, in any jurisdiction, during the 10 years ending on
the date of such investigation, of any of the crimes listed below:

(i) Forgery of certificates, false marking of aircraft
(ii) Interference with air navigation
(iii) Improper transportation of a hazardous material
(iv) Aircraft piracy
(v) Interference with flightcrew members or flight attendants
(vi) Commission of certain crimes aboard aircraft in flight
(vii) Carrying a weapon or explosive aboard aircraft
(viii) Conveying false information and threats
(ix) Aircraft piracy outside the special aircraft jurisdiction of
the United States
(x) Lighting violations involving transporting controlled
(xi) Unlawful entry into an aircraft or airport area that serves air
carriers or foreign air carriers contrary to established security
(xii) Destruction of an aircraft or aircraft facility
(xiii) Murder;
(xiv) Assault with intent to murder;
(xv) Espionage;
(xvi) Sedition;
(xvii) Kidnapping or hostage taking;
(xviii) Treason;
(xix) Rape or aggravated sexual abuse;
(xx) Unlawful possession, use, sale, distribution, or manufacture of
an explosive or weapon;
(xxi) Extortion;
(xxii) Armed robbery;
(xxiii) Distribution of, or intent to distribute, a controlled
(xxiv) Felony arson;
(xxv) Conspiracy or attempt to commit any of the aforementioned
criminal acts

Cybercrime isn't covered.


Selling Life Story Rights
"If you are selling the life experiences of another person for adaptation as a film, you will need to have an "option" agreement with that person."

They could write "a" story, but they couldn't write "his" story. And if you leave out all the interesting things that make the story similar to his, there's no plot left except another "punk steals credit cards" storyline.


8:29 pm on Mar 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Sounds steep to me, 20 years and he pleaded guilty.


2:10 am on Mar 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

The banks probably had a good lawyer.


7:53 pm on Mar 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Let’s not be too optimistic. His conviction will not change much, it is just tip of the iceberg:
A CITY in eastern China has been identified as the world capital of cyber-espionage by an American internet security company.
The firm traced 12 billion emails in a study which showed that a higher number of “targeted attacks” on computers come from China than previously thought.
Researchers for Symantec found almost 30% of “malicious” emails were sent from China and that 21.3% came from the city of Shaoxing alone. They were able to identify key targets for the hackers as experts in Asian defence policy and human rights activists, strongly suggesting state involvement.

Original article here [technology.timesonline.co.uk]


11:17 pm on Mar 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

So, how many people died as a result of this crime? How many were hurt?

he was working for the US Secret Service as an informant, reportedly receiving as much as $75,000 a year.

Apparently, as the guy was a spy, the 20 yr sentence was increased... by 24hours!?

Ridiculous. His official US government job description probably included hacking, anyway.

Hope other hackers and wannabe hackers learn a lesson

There's this problem with the US justice system. It is based on punishment rather than prevention or rehabilitation. However, punishment *if caught* never was a factor considered by any criminal before or during a crime.

So, from the 1% of Americans that are spending time in US prisons nobody learns any lessons. <snip>

2,319,258 Americans were in jail or prison at the start of 2008 — one out of every 99.1 adults. Whether per capita or in raw numbers, it's more than any other nation. (source [news.aol.com])

[edited by: lawman at 12:17 am (utc) on Mar 29, 2010]
[edit reason] Leave Overt Politics At The Door Please [/edit]


12:13 am on Mar 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator lawman is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

Poor guy. Sounds like he should have picked a more enlightened country to do his hacking in.


6:05 am on Apr 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

20 years is a long time . This goes out as a warning to all the hackers. It's high time they learn to do something worthwile and legal.


9:50 pm on Apr 5, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Here in New Zealand a young guy got caught as part of a bot net network.
The judge let him off as "he had potential"
And he became a mini celebrity on tv news shows etc.

Pleased to see the US judges have the sense to be tough on this. It costs us all a fortune with internet security programs and our time fighting off attacks.


2:01 am on Apr 6, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

There is no mention of a minimum parole eligibility which means he could be out in 5 or less, based on good behavior...

Also, does this mean that he wont have access to the computers that other in-mates usually have access to within prison walls?


2:18 am on Apr 6, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Yeah give him an old Commodore 64


3:00 am on Apr 6, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member billys is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

I've had my card number stolen three times in three years. I think 20 years is too short. That works out to only around 5 seconds per stolen card.

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