Security consultant turned hacker sentenced to 13 years in prison

Max Ray Vision, a 37-year-old hacker from San Francisco, has earned himself a 13 year long prison sentence on account of stealing two million credit card numbers from banks, businesses and even other hackers. He was running CardersMarket, an online forum, on which he was selling stolen credit card data to criminals for $20 a pop.

After he is done serving his sentence in prison, he will be released and be kept five more years under court supervision. During this period, he will be forbidden to use computers for any other purpose except education or legitimate employment. The sentence also included an order to pay $27.5 million in restitution.

Vision – whose real name was Max Ray Butler up until he changed it shortly before being arrested – was facing life imprisonment, but his final sentence was lenient since he was fully cooperative and showed remorse.

But, this isn’t Vision’s first time in prison. Back in the late 1990s, he started his career as a bona fide security expert and consultant, respected by peers and working with the FBI. Somewhere along the way – or maybe even from the very beginning – he began do some illegal hacking on the side that landed him in prison for 18 months because he managed to gain entrance in the Pentagon computer systems and plant backdoors and packet-sniffers.

According to Wired, during his stint in prison he met a criminal that would later introduce him to Chris Aragon, a bank robber from California, who became his “business partner”. He used the stolen credit card data to forge cards and give it to a team of shoppers for buying pricy things on eBay, which he would later resell.

After his release, Vision blipped on the law enforcement radar again in 2006, when he blatantly hacked into competing card-selling forums, wiped their databases and incorporated their members into his CardersMarket.

Operating under the handle “Iceman”, he was also the one who discovered that “Master Splyntr”, one of the administrators of DarkMarket, was in fact an FBI agent. But, his warning to people on the DarkMarket forums fell on deaf ears, since it was thought to be a lie fueled by inter-forum rivalry.

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