US Hacking Mastermind Pleads Guilty

Faces At Least 15 Years in Prison

2 min read
US Hacking Mastermind Pleads Guilty

The alleged "mastermind" behind the largest identity theft case in US history, Albert Gonzalez, 28, has agreed to plead guilty, according to several news reports.

Gonzalez, who is currently in jail, has agreed to plead guilty to 19 federal counts in Massachusetts, with the charges in New York being dropped. He still has charges pending against him in New Jersey.

Gonzalez allegedly helped steal 130 million credit and debit card numbers. He faces 15 to 25 years in prison on the Massachusetts charges alone.

While a large theft, a 2009 Verizon Corporation report said that in 2008 there were 90 confirmed security breaches that resulted in some 285 million compromised records worldwide. So, anyone expecting that the break-up of this id theft ring is going to make a huge dent in reducing identity theft and resulting fraud is likely to be disappointed.

In other security related news, a judge has thrown out three of the four felony charges against Terry Childs, a former San Francisco city computer engineer who was accused in July 2008 of commandeering San Francisco's computer network last year and altering it to deny access to top city administrators.

According to this story in ComputerWorld,

“The charges that were thrown out relate to allegations that Childs quietly placed three modems on a San Francisco city network to have backdoor access to the city network. In dismissing the charges, Judge Kevin McCarthy ruled on Friday that there was insufficient evidence to show that Childs had placed the modems on the network with malicious intent.”

However, a fourth charge, that Childs illegally refused to hand over the passwords to the system to city administrators, was allowed to stand. If convicted, Childs could face 5 years in prison. He has been in prison since last July.

A trial date will be set soon.

Finally, the US Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke was reportedly a victim of id theft the old fashion way when his wife’s purse, containing her Social Security card, the family checkbook, her credit cards and her IDs, was stolen. Within days, someone was using the checks to withdrawn money from the Bernanke’s checking account.

As it turned out, the Bernanke’s were caught up in a sophisticated id theft ring which hired pick pockets to snatch people's purses and wallets, and then use the information to try to access the victims' bank accounts. The ring was broken up by authorities but only after it stole over $2 million;  key members of the id theft ring have been convicted and sent to prison.  

 

The Conversation (0)

Why Functional Programming Should Be the Future of Software Development

It’s hard to learn, but your code will produce fewer nasty surprises

11 min read
Vertical
A plate of spaghetti made from code
Shira Inbar
DarkBlue1

You’d expectthe longest and most costly phase in the lifecycle of a software product to be the initial development of the system, when all those great features are first imagined and then created. In fact, the hardest part comes later, during the maintenance phase. That’s when programmers pay the price for the shortcuts they took during development.

So why did they take shortcuts? Maybe they didn’t realize that they were cutting any corners. Only when their code was deployed and exercised by a lot of users did its hidden flaws come to light. And maybe the developers were rushed. Time-to-market pressures would almost guarantee that their software will contain more bugs than it would otherwise.

Keep Reading ↓Show less
{"imageShortcodeIds":["31996907"]}