Hacker sentenced to 20-years

It used to be that when a hacker stole money from a bank via the internet and got caught, the sentence was a lot less than a robber going into a physical bank and holding it up.  The sentencing of computer hackers have finally caught up with the modern era.

As I have mentioned in a recent blog, online thefts have doubled in the last year to over half-a-billion dollars.  During the same period, bank robberies (the physical kind) only took in $9.5 million or about 1/50th.  However, the sentencing for hackers (considered a white-collar crime) was only a few years (if any) while bank robbers usually got over five.  Granted, many bank robbers used guns (but I assume you kind of have to) so the sentencing guidelines change accordingly.  However, the average take from these robberies is “only” around $5,000.

In the case of the hacker in question, Mr. Albert Gonzalez (28 years old), the scale was something else.  Apparently, he stole over 90 million credit card numbers equaling over 80 gigabytes of data.  The main victim, TJX, apparently suffered close to $200 million in damages.  For this, Mr. Gonzalez will now spend 20 years in jail.  A good article on the complicated case can be found at Wired.

For more entries on security, I have created a new blog section at: http://security./

William Saito
Special Advisor at Cabinet Office (Govt. of Japan)
Named by Nikkei as one of the “100 Most Influential People for Japan,” Saito began software programming at an early age and started his own company in high school. By the time he was named Entrepreneur of the Year in 1998 (by Ernst & Young, NASDAQ and USA Today), he was recognized as one of the world’s leading authorities on encryption, biometric authentication and cyber security.

After selling his business to Microsoft, he moved to Tokyo in 2005 and founded InTecur, a venture capital firm and consultancy that identifies innovative technologies, develops global talent and helps entrepreneurs become successful. In 2013, Saito was appointed a Special Advisor to the Cabinet Office for the Government of Japan.

Similarly, in 2012 he served as a council member on national strategy for the Cabinet-level National Policy Unit, and prior to that, was named as the Chief Technology Officer for the Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission (NAIIC). He is a Foundation Board Member at the World Economic Forum (WEF), and has been named by the WEF as both a Young Global Leader and Global Agenda Council member.

Saito also advises several national governments around the globe. In Japan, he has also served as an advisor to METI, MIC, MEXT, MLIT, AIST, IPA and the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS), among others.

He teaches at multiple universities, serves on several corporate boards, appears as a commentator on national TV and is the author of numerous publications in addition to writing a weekly column for a prominent Japanese business newspaper. His best-selling management book, The Team: Solving the Biggest Problem in Japan, was published by Nikkei BP in 2012, his follow-on book, Is Your Thinking up to Global Standards?, was published by Daiwa Shobo in late 2013 and his autobiography, An Unprogrammed Life: Adventures of an Incurable Entrepreneur, was published in 2011 by John Wiley & Sons.

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