TJX and Heartland hacker Albert Gonzalez may be behind bars for the next 20 years, but the fraud fallout from his hacking is still spreading: a Florida credit union is now reissuing 12,000 debit cards after its customers’ accounts were compromised in the wake of the Heartland Payment Systems breach by Gonzalez and his cohorts.
MidFlorida Federal Credit Union had issued 5,000 new cards to its members last year, according to a published report in The Ledger in Lakeland in the wake of Heartland’s disclosure that its network had been breached, exposing 100 million credit and debit card transactions. The credit union has around 80,000 debit card accounts overall.
Gonzalez last week was given the largest sentence ever levied for a computer crime: 20 years in prison for his role in the massive breach of TJX, BJ’s Wholesale Club, OfficeMax, Boston Market, Barnes & Noble, Sports Authority, and Dave & Busters restaurants. It was considered the largest identity theft case ever in the U.S. A day later, he was handed another 20-year sentence for breaching Heartland Payment Systems, Hannaford Bros., Target, 7-Eleven, JC Penney, and WetSeal, but that sentence will be served concurrently with the first one.
MidFlorida sent notices out all of its affected debit card holders on March 26, noting that they should also review their accounts for any potential fraudulent activity. Kathy Britt, chief operating officer for MidFlorida Federal Credit Union, reportedly said the credit union is replacing this latest round of debit cards due to some recent fraud activity tied to the Heartland breach.
Gonzalez, also known as “segvec,” soupnazi,” and “j4guar17,” conducted most of his dirty deeds during 2005 to 2008 while he served as a paid undercover informant for the U.S. Secret Service. He reportedly was paid a $75,000 salary by the agency. He had called his cybercrime enterprise “Operation Get Rich Or Die Tryin.'” In August, he was indicted, along with two Eastern Europeans for the hacks of Heartland and the other firms.
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