A hacker from Miami pled guilty to conspiracy to hack into computer networks at major U.S. retail and financial groups, and to steal data on tens of millions of credit cards and debit cards on Tuesday.

Albert Gonzalez, who hacked under names including "soupnazi" and "segvec", will be given a prison term of between 17 years and 25 years as part of the plea agreement, said a statement from the U.S. Department of Justice.

Gonzalez was able to gain access to payment card networks operated by a number of companies, including convenience store chain 7-Eleven and Heartland Payment Systems. He also used several servers to test and store malware used to attack corporate networks and steal tens of millions of credit card and debit card numbers, affecting over 250 financial institutions.

"The case is one of the largest data breaches ever investigated and prosecuted in the United States," the statement said.

Full story: Computerworld