Hacker pleads guilty to huge theft of card numbers

The New York and Massachusetts indictments said Gonzalez and two foreign co-defendants used hacking techniques that involved "wardriving," or cruising through different areas with a laptop computer and looking for retailers' accessible wireless Internet signals. Once they located a vulnerable network, they installed "sniffer programs" that captured credit and debit card numbers as they moved through a retailer's processing computers — then tried to sell the data overseas.

Gonzalez was in the process of negotiating a plea agreement on those charges in August 2008 when federal prosecutors in New Jersey brought new charges against him for allegedly targeting customers of convenience store giant 7-Eleven Inc. and supermarket chain Hannaford Brothers Co. Those charges are still pending.

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Associated Press Writer Tamara Lush in Miami contributed to this report.

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