Young hacker gets 20 years in prison
When Albert Gonzalez was a child, he became addicted to computers. That addiction, combined with alcohol and drug use as he got older, led to Albert’s participation in a ring of computer hackers. Over a few years, he engineered one of the largest thefts of credit and debit card numbers in American history. He was first arrested when he was 21 and agreed to become an informant for the government regarding other hackers’ activities.
Theft of the estimated 40 million card numbers resulted in $200 million in damages to retailers including Barnes and Noble, Office-Max, 7-Eleven and a chain of grocery stores. The self-taught computer expert would drive past stores and tap into their wireless Internet signals. He would steal the card numbers and sell them overseas.
On March 25, 2010, Albert, at age 28, was sentenced in a Boston court to 20 years in prison, followed by 3 years of supervised release and a $25,000 fine. “What matters most is that teenagers and young adults not look up to Albert Gonzalez. They need to know that they will be caught. That they will be punished and that the punishment will be severe,” stated the prosecutor on the case.
For an extreme case of Internet addiction and tragic consequences, see: http://askthejudge.info/teen-myspace-killer-gets-20-years/2562/