Infamous Hacker Gives Up Assets, Heads To Prison For Stealing CC Data

Thinking of using those newfound hacking skills to engage in nefarious behavior? Think again. Albert Gonzalez is a name that'll go down in hacking history, but it's not for anything positive. After being charged with stealing some 130 million credit and debit card numbers, Albert plead guilty to previous data-theft charges in New York and Massachusetts.

His penalty? Aside from dealing with a stream of media coverage, he'll be forced to cough up $1.65 million in assets. Oh, and then there's a little thing called "jail time." He'll be dealing with 15 to 25 years of that, after Federal prosecutors in Boston charged Gonzalez and others with stealing credit and debit card numbers from companies including TJX Cos., BJ’s Wholesale Club Inc., OfficeMax Inc., Barnes & Noble Inc. and Sports Authority Inc. Needless to say, this guy was no small fry, and he had no qualms about going for broke with his tactics.

The actual story here is pretty wild. Gonzalez was originally working as an informant for the Secret Service, but then the SS discovered that it was criminally involved in the case. A smart hacker, but a not-so-smart individual. He utilizes malware and so-called "injection string" to attack computers and steal data on a real-time basis, which made it tougher for officials to recognize that any hacking was taking place.  They also programmed malware to evade detection by anti-virus software and erase files that might detect its presence, proving even further that the plan was well thought-out.

Still, this whole case is just downright scary for an outsider. We trust these very companies to keep our data safe, and a handful of hackers have shown that anything is possible with the right coding and a little bit of time. Here's hoping this serves as a wake-up call for the industry/security firms.