Miami hacker reportedly worked for the secret service before turning rogue

A hacker in the US has been charged with stealing at least 130m credit card records from large retail companies.

Alberto Gonzalez, 28, of Miami, Florida, was once hired by the US secret service to track down criminal hackers, according to reports.

Gonzalez is accused of working with Russian counterparts to hack into the databases of retail chains, including a New Jersey based company called Heartland, 7-Eleven and supermarket chain Hannaford, and selling the information on.

The hackers allegedly broke into the companies’ computer systems and used malicious software to steal the data.

‘What is interesting is that the latest victim, Heartland, was declared PCI compliant by the QSA (Qualified Security Assessor) shortly before the breach took place,’ commented Andrew Clarke of security firm Lumension.

“What this shows is that being compliant by no means creates immunity to vulnerabilities.

Andrew Clarke of security firm Lumension

‘What this shows is that being compliant by no means creates immunity to vulnerabilities,’ he added.

Heartland is reportedly paying $32m in recovery efforts.

Policymakers in the US and UK have recently focused on cyber crime as a criminal growth area. President Barack Obama created the post of ‘cyber tsar’ and Gordon Brown announced the launch of the UK’s first cyber security strategy in an effort to combat the growing number of threats from criminals, terrorists and hostile states.

See also: UK launches first cyber security strategy