Albert Gonzalez

Picture of Albert Gonzalez

Citizenship: United States

Hacker century

verdict in one of the most notorious cases of fraud in the field of high technologies in recent years imposed in the United States. The ideologist of the plurality of operations for illegal entry into the corporate network, and founder of the international "exchange carders" the ShadowCrew Albert Gonzalez March 25 was sentenced to 20 years in prison for stealing more than 170 million bank cards.

The son of Cuban exiles, Albert Gonzalez (Albert Gonzalez) from Miami acquainted with computers at an early age, when he was 8 years old. Pretty soon he realized that high technology can bring good profits and provide a comfortable existence, for what eventually paid.

Gonzalez scored criminal tendencies in high school, where he was described as the leader of the local "nerds", turned on the computer. At 17, he first came to the attention of the FBI, when two school friends broke the Indian government servers and left there for a few unflattering reviews about Indian culture. At the time, he escaped with a warning, and excommunication from the computer for six months.

Apparently, even then, in 1999, Gonzalez knew what would make a living. After high school, he moved to Miami, where he was born in a suburb of Newark, New Jersey.

Without leaving his home in New Jersey Gonzalez threw active on the Internet, together with a group of like-minded people created a community known Shadowcrew and became an active participant. The site Shadowcrew carders in a cozy atmosphere exchanged secrets of success, agreed on the sale of large consignments of stolen credit card data and their owners.

Trade was in an atmosphere of trust and virtually market laws - lot put up for auction, and if the product turned out to be of poor quality (for example, the owner of "leaked" to the hackers managed to her credit at the time of sale of block), proposed procedures for exchange or refund. On Shadowcrew could sell not only the data of a credit card, but also many other products obtained questionable way, including lists of email addresses for mass mailings and various secret documents.

According to the FBI, the now closed Shadowcrew a total of about 4,000 people have been registered, but the actual number of users of "carders exchange" was significantly less.

A year after the opening of the Shadowcrew feds took, and one of their informants was Albert Gonzalez, known on this forum under the pseudonym CumbaJohnny. In cooperation with the authorities, he had to agree to in order to avoid prosecution himself - the FBI has collected enough evidence for charges against him to trade stolen credit cards.

For his work, he received from the US government for 75 thousand a year. From April 2003 to October 2004, FBI agents closely watched activity at Shadowcrew, collecting materials for the arrests. Once the operation was in jeopardy when the site appeared the documents stolen from one of the agents, who watched the forum. They are indirectly saying that for the forum is monitored, but Gonzalez, who became at that time the head of the Shadowcrew, managed to bring suspected not. 26 October 2004 around the world 26 most active participants in the carding community have been arrested, he Shadowcrew ceased to exist, and FBI informant returned to his native Miami,.

After the defeat of Shadowcrew Albert Gonzalez has continued to cooperate with the authorities, but also did not forget about yourself. Unbeknownst to the FBI, he decided to make "a rainy day" and together with a group of associates came up with identity theft scheme retail chains buyers.

Intruders penetrated the network of companies thanks to traffic analysis by a specially written program - sniffer. Obtained using sniffer data allows attackers undetected, access to classified information. To search for vulnerabilities Gonzalez without leaving the car scanned the traffic wi-fi networks of shops.

The first major victim of Gonzalez and the company was a corporation TJX Companies, which owns one of the largest US network of clothing stores TJ Maxx. The TJX suspected something was wrong in December 2006. By that time, Gonzalez with accomplices over six months has been working with the company`s network and stole over 40 million credit card numbers and personal affairs of their respective owners.

May 7, 2008 Gonzalez and 10 of his accomplices were arrested in a special operation by the FBI. Remarkably, the author of the software, steal data from the retailer`s network, he was not, and the bank officer at Morgan Stanley in New York Steven Watt (Stephen Watt), known in their circles as "the unix-terrorist". Gonzalez in this operation played the role of a "think tank".

Even when Gonzalez was under investigation, it became clear that he was involved and to other leaks credit card numbers in recent years. In particular, he was accused of organizing one of the largest hacking Heartland Payment System payment systems in the US, ATM retailer 7-Eleven and Hannaford Bros trade network in late 2007. The total of these organizations have been stolen data on 135 million credit and debit cards and the personalities of their owners, which are then resold on similar Shadowcrew sites. Among hackers operation was an unspoken title of "Sink or Swim" (Get rich or die trying).

Unlike many other hackers, Gonzalez did not act out of love for art, but for the sake of money. At home, he kept about half a million dollars in cash, a million was buried in the backyard of his parents Gonzalez. With the money he bought an apartment in Miami, a car, a few pairs of watches Rolex, ring from Tiffany for his girl and other little things, which will now go to compensate the damage. The young man did not hesitate to noisy parties, one of which, they say, he spent 75 thousand dollars, and in general preferred to imagine anything not refuse.

In the face of irrefutable evidence, Alberto Gonzales is nothing to do but to plead guilty, and again to make a deal with the investigation by revealing all the details of their crimes. Otherwise, given the previous experience with the authorities, the hacker threatened to life imprisonment.

The lawyers argued that their client is 28-year-old is autistic and Internet addiction, all criminal acts committed under the influence of LSD, ketamine and cannabis and in general is not aware that he was doing. Given the scale of deployed Gonzalez scams, believing it was not easy. According to the court, the next 20 years, Albert Gonzalez will spend in prison.