[QODLink]
Americas
Data from 130m credit cards stolen
Three men charged in US over country's worst ever identity theft case.
Last Modified: 18 Aug 2009 03:18 GMT
Gonzales and two Russians are accused of hacking into networks to steal banking information

Three men have been indicted in the US for allegedly stealing information from at least 130 million credit and debit cards in the largest hacking and identity theft case in the country's history.

Albert Gonzales, a former government informant, was indicted on Monday along with two unnamed Russians for allegedly hacking into computer networks between 2006 and 2008 to steal banking information, prosecutors said.

They were charged with conspiracy to gain unauthorised access to computers, to commit fraud in connection with computers and to damage computers, as well as conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

Each faces up to 35 years in prison and big fines if convicted.

Among the organisations the three allegedly targeted were Heartland Payment Systems, a card payment processor; 7-Eleven, a US convenience store company and Hannaford Brothers, a supermarket chain.

Data 'harvested'

Prosecutors said the suspects targeted large corporations by scanning the list of Fortune 500 companies and exploring corporate websites before setting out to identify vulnerabilities.

One of the methods employed was to carry our surveillance at retail locations to identify the type of card machines used before hacking through the firewalls or security software of the computer networks supporting the retailer.

They would then seek to sell the data to others who would use it to make fraudulent purchases, prosecutors said.

The stolen information was allegedly sent to computer servers in California, Illinois, Latvia, the Netherlands and Ukraine.

Gonzales, a 28-year-old from Miami who is already in federal custody, was charged in May 2008 by authorities in New York for his alleged role in the hacking of a computer network run by a national restaurant chain.

He is expected to appear in court to answer the charges next month.

Source:
Agencies
Featured on Al Jazeera
Mother of jailed Al Jazeera journalist Abdullah Elshamy says her son's ordeal highlights the value of press freedom.
French Jews and Muslims say recent National Front victories in mayoral races reflect rising xenophobia.
Western fighters have streamed into the Middle East to help 'liberate' Arab countries such as Syria and Libya.
The Pakistani government is proposing reform of the nation's madrassas, which are accused of fostering terrorism.
Featured
Survivors of Bangladesh garment factory collapse say they received little compensation and face economic hardship.
As Iraq prepares to vote, deadly violence is surging. But at the site of one bomb attack, people insist life must go on.
French Jews and Muslims say recent National Front victories in mayoral races reflect rising xenophobia.
Up to 23,000 federal prisoners could qualify for clemency under new Justice Department initiative.
After years of rapid growth, Argentina is bracing for another economic crisis as inflation eats up purchasing power.
join our mailing list