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Indictment of card hacker unlikely to end thefts

Accomplices to the crimes are believed to be on the loose in Russia or other countries where U.S. authorities are less likely to get them.

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Credit card numbers are still vulnerable, so remain vigilant.

Newscom

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This week’s indictment of a hacker believed responsible for the biggest retail-store data breaches in U.S. history doesn’t necessarily make shoppers safer from having their credit card numbers plundered.

Accomplices to the crimes are believed to be on the loose in Russia or other countries where U.S. authorities are less likely to get them. And the underlying security holes mined by the hackers still exist in many payment networks.

Albert Gonzalez, a Miami hacker who once worked as a government mole tracking down identity thieves, is accused of playing a critical role in all the largest credit-card heists on record.

With Monday’s indictment of Gonzalez on conspiracy charges in U.S. District Court in New Jersey, the Justice Department says he helped steal 130 million card numbers from payment processor Heartland Payment Systems, 4.2 million card numbers from East Coast grocery chain Hannaford Bros. and an undetermined number of cards from 7-Eleven. He was previously charged in other computer break-ins, most significantly at TJX Cos., the chain that owns discount retailers T.J. Maxx and Marshalls, in which as many as 100 million accounts were lifted.

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