Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Document Details Help TJX Hacker Gave Prosecutors

Kim Zetter writes on Threat Level:

Admitted TJX hacker Albert Gonzalez has identified two Russian accomplices who helped him hack into numerous companies and steal more than 130 million credit and debit card numbers.

Gonzalez told prosecutors that the hackers breached at least four card processing companies, as well as a series of foreign banks, a brokerage house and several retail store chains, according to a sentencing memo filed by his lawyer on Tuesday that was incorrectly redacted.

The document reveals that six months after his May 2008 arrest, Gonzalez located and provided prosecutors with the “complicated” and “lengthy” password to decrypt his laptop, which contained “a vast array of historical data and communications” that helped the government indict other members of Gonzalez’s team, and could be used in future search warrants. It also reveals that Gonzalez drew prosecutors a map that helped them find more than $1.1 million that he had buried in his parents’ backyard.

Gonzalez is scheduled to be sentenced on Dec. 21 in two cases out of New York and Massachusetts involving hacks into TJX, Dave & Busters restaurant chain and numerous other companies, though his sentencing is likely to be delayed. On Tuesday, the government asked for an 8-12 week continuance to give Gonzalez a psychological examination, following a defense claim that the hacker suffers from Asperger’s syndrome and may not have the “capacity to knowingly evaluate the wrongfulness of his actions.” That information was revealed in an exhibit filed with the sentencing memo that describes a psychological evaluation Gonzalez underwent with a psychologist hired by the defense.

More here.


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