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News

Hacker Receives Long Custodial Sentence For Computer Crime

Sophos : 29 March, 2010  (Technical Article)
Sophos has commented on the length of sentence handed out to Albert Gonzalez for credit and debit card thefts carried out using hacking techniques
Sophos, the IT security and data protection firm, has commented on the sentencing of Albert Gonzalez, the mastermind behind a hacking ring that stole more than 40 million credit and debit card numbers from US retailers including TJ Max and Barnes & Noble. US prosecutors yesterday sent the hacker to jail for 20 years.

Gonzalez, who went by the handle "Sevgec", was the ringleader behind what is described as the single largest and most complex hacking and identity theft there has ever been. The imprisonment of Gonzalez follows actions taken against another member of the gang, 25-year-old Ukranian Maksym Yastremskiy, also known as 'Maksik. Yastremisky was sentenced to 30 years in a Turkish prison in early 2009.

"Twenty years is a breathtaking sentence for anyone to receive but it is particularly unusual for a computer crime. In fact, it's my belief that it's the stiffest sentence ever given by a US court for hacking and identity theft. It is encouraging to see that cybercrime cases, like this one, are being taken more seriously than ever before," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant, Sophos. "News of the security breach was, of course, embarrassing for all the stores involves - who must have been worried that customer would lose confidence in their ability to securely hold sensitive data.

"What's fascinating about this story is that Gonzalez was actually working for the US Secret Service when they became aware of his involvement in the 2007 hack. Clearly security measures need to be strengthened to avoid this 'double agent' effect happening again," Cluley added.
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