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Between 2002 and 2004, Albert Gonzalez was a member of the inner-circle of the ShadowCrew, a cybercrime message board offering a haven for “carders” and hackers to buy, sell, and trade illicit information. In 2003, he was arrested in New York for using stolen bank-card numbers, and from April 2003 to October 2004, he assisted in gathering information and monitoring users of ShadowCrew.
After his help enabled officials to indict more than a dozen members of Shadowcrew, Gonzalez moved to Miami due to safety concerns. After aiding another investigation, he became a paid informant of the Secret Service field office in Miami in early 2006. Simultaneously while cooperating with authorities, he masterminded the hacking of TJX Companies which resulted in the theft of 45.6 million credit and debit card numbers during an 18 month period ending in 2007.
Starting in December 2007, Gonzalez was involved with hacking into the Heartland Payment Systems, Citibank-branded 7-Eleven ATM's, and Hannaford Brothers computer systems. Heartland bore the bulk of the attack in which 130 million card numbers were stolen. Gonzalez was arrested on May 7, 2008 on charges stemming from hacking into the Dave & Buster's corporate network from a point of sale location at a restaurant in Islandia, New York. Gonzalez is currently serving a 20-year sentence at the Federal Correctional Institution, Milan, a low-security facility in Michigan and is scheduled for release in 2025.
- Wikipedia entry
- James Verini, The Great Cyberheist, New York Times Magazine, Nov 10, 2010
- Nate Anderson, No safe haven: the global Secret Service hunt for three hackers, Ars Technica, Jul 31, 2012.
- Kim Zetter, TJX Hacker Charged With Heartland, Hannaford Breaches, Wired: Threat Level, Aug 17, 2009
- Jenn Abelson, Breach of Data at TJX Is Called the Biggest Ever: Stolen Numbers Put at 45.7 Million, Mar 29, 2007.