[ISN] Secret Service Paid TJX Hacker $75,000 a Year

From: InfoSec News <alerts_at_private>
Date: Tue, 23 Mar 2010 00:34:11 -0600 (CST)

By Kim Zetter  
Threat Level
March 22, 2010

Convicted TJX hacker Albert Gonzalez earned $75,000 a year working 
undercover for the U.S. Secret Service, informing on bank card thieves 
before he was arrested in 2008 for running his own multimillion-dollar 
card-hacking operation.

The information comes from one of Gonzalez.s best friends and convicted 
accomplices, Stephen Watt. Watt pleaded guilty last year to creating a 
sniffer program that Gonzalez used to siphon millions of credit and 
debit card numbers from the TJX corporate network while he was working 
undercover for the government.

Watt told Threat Level that Gonzalez was paid in cash, which is 
generally done to protect someone's status as a confidential informant. 
The Secret Service said it would not comment on payments made to 
informants. Gonzalez's attorney did not respond to a call for comment.

"It's a significant amount of money to pay an informant but it's not an 
outrageous amount to pay if the guy was working full time and delivering 
good results," says former federal prosecutor Mark Rasch. "It's probably 
the only thing he was doing - other than hacking into TJX and making 
millions of dollars."


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Received on Mon Mar 22 2010 - 23:34:11 PDT

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