kottke.org posts about Albert Gonzalez

Hacker double agentNov 22 2010

While assisting the Secret Service in bringing down a cybercrime ring called Shadowcrew, Albert Gonzalez was, unbeknowst to the agents he was working with, involved with a much larger scheme to steal credit card information on a massive scale. Despite making millions of dollars hacking into the databases of large companies, Gonzalez preferred living at home with his parents for three reasons:

1. he loved his mother's cooking
2. he loved playing with his nephew
3. he could more easily launder money through his parents' home-equity line of credit

When they pieced together how Gonzalez organized these heists later, federal prosecutors had to admire his ingenuity. "It's like driving to the building next to the bank to tunnel into the bank," Seth Kosto, an assistant U.S. attorney in New Jersey who worked on the case, told me. When I asked how Gonzalez rated among criminal hackers, he replied: "As a leader? Unparalleled. Unparalleled in his ability to coordinate contacts and continents and expertise. Unparalleled in that he didn't just get a hack done -- he got a hack done, he got the exfiltration of the data done, he got the laundering of the funds done. He was a five-tool player."

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