Government informant is called kingpin of largest U.S. data breaches
Gonzalez allegedly worked with feds to jail cohorts while launching own massive attacks
Computerworld - A government informant who helped put away nearly 30 fellow hackers five years ago is considered by U.S. law enforcement officials to be the kingpin of the biggest data breaches in U.S. history.
Albert Gonzalez, 28, of Miami was indicted yesterday for the third time in connection with the data breaches. Two Russian citizens were indicted along with Gonzalez by a grand jury in New Jersey yesterday on charges of running an international scheme to steal more than 130 million credit and debit card numbers as well as personally identifying information from five companies, including Heartland Payment Systems Inc., 7-Eleven Inc. and Hannaford Bros. Co.
Federal investigators and prosecutors are calling yesterday's third indictment of Gonzalez a coup for the government.
Gonzalez, who is being held in a detention center in Brooklyn, N.Y., was indicted in the Eastern District of New York on May 12, 2008, and the District of Massachusetts on Aug. 5, 2008, on charges related to separate data breaches at TJX, Dave & Busters, BJ's Wholesale Club, OfficeMax, Boston Market, Barnes & Noble, Sports Authority, Forever 21 and DSW. Before the Heartland hack was disclosed, the TJX breach had been considered the largest ever, with 45.6 million credit and debit card numbers stolen.
Gonzalez became an informant for the U.S. Secret Service after his 2003 arrest in New Jersey on on charges of ATM and debit card fraud, according to an official at the U.S. Department of Justice, who asked not to be named.
In 2004, Gonzalez provided information that helped the U.S. Attorney's Office in Newark, N.J., bust up what at the time was one of the largest online centers for stolen identity and credit card information. The online underground marketplace, dubbed the Shadowcrew group, was charged with trafficking more than 1.5 million stolen credit and ATM card numbers.
Twenty-eight people were arrested and 27 pleaded guilty in connection with that incident. One man fled and became a fugitive.
Scott Christie, a former federal prosecutor who now leads the information technology group at law firm McCarter & English LLP, said it is clear that Gonzalez had been a leader of the Shadowcrew ring. Christie, who worked as a prosecutor on the Shadowcrew case, would not comment on any work that Gonzalez may have done for the government or why he was not arrested for his alleged role in the ring.
The DOJ official did confirm that Gonzalez acted as an informant in the case. However, according to this week's indictment, Gonzalez was allegedly continuing to work as a criminal hacker at the same time he was cooperating with the government.
- 18 Hot IT Certifications for 2014
- CIOs Opting for IT Contractors Over Hiring Full-Time Staff
- 12 Best Free iOS 7 Holiday Shopping Apps
- For CMOs Big Data Can Lead to Big Profits
- Slideshow: 5 ways to lock down your mobile device
- Slideshow: 10 mistakes companies make after a data breach
- How to rob a bank: A social engineering walk through
- Which smartphone is the most secure?
If you like your iPhone, you can keep your iPhone. Period.
President Obama has revealed that he's not permitted to carry an iPhone. It's too insecure for the job, he says. Instead, he's stuck with a BlackBerry. Well, someone's got to have one still. However, it turns out that the Pentagon has also outlawed non-BlackBerry smartphones. In IT Blogwatch, bloggers joke that 2006 called and they want their smartphones back.
- IT Certification Study Tips
- Register for this Computerworld Insider Study Tip guide and gain access to hundreds of premium content articles, cheat sheets, product reviews and more.
- Mitigating DDoS Attacks with F5 Technology
- This document examines various DDoS attack methods and the application of specific ADC technologies to block attacks in the DDoS threat spectrum while...
- The DDoS Threat Spectrum
- Bolstered by favorable economics, today's global botnets are using distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks to target firewalls, web services, and applications, often simultaneously.
- Defending Against Denial of Service Attacks
- By utilizing end-user interviews, this whitepaper explores a deeper understanding of DDoS defense plans and reveals the knowledge gaps around the Denial of...
- Strategic Solutions for Government IT
- This paper outlines why F5 is the optimum partner to help achieve the levels of security, performance and availability that are vital to...
Top Considerations for Moving to a Cloud Delivery Model for ITSM
Find out whether SaaS-based ITSM is right for you
- Software-as-a-service is more than just a cloud-based delivery model-it's a new approach to service that lets companies optimize utilization of in-house IT resources... All Government IT White Papers
- Pre-Engineered solutions from VCE Simplify Core Infrastructure Implementation In this video, the CTO of Purdue Pharma, a privately held pharmaceutical company explains how Purdue transformed their data center infrastructure with VCE.
- Integrated Infrastructure: Simplify Operations, Speed Deployments and Reduce Costs George Weiss, Gartner Vice President and Analyst, and Praveen Akkiraju, CEO of VCE, provide practical information regarding the various aspects of Integrated Infrastructures...
- Video: 5 Secrets To Scaling Enterprise Apps Watch this video to learn how to successfully scale enterprise apps>>
- Collaboration 2013: Where Mobility Meets Connectivity Mobility and collaboration are quickly converging and users are demanding more capabilities. It's no longer enough to enable file sharing. This Webcast dives...
- Modernizing SAP environments with minimum risk - a path to Big Data Hear from top IDC analyst, Richard Villars, about the path you can start taking now to enable your organization to get the benefits...
- All Government IT Webcasts
Does your organization offer extensive benefits, cool perks, competitive salaries, opportunities for training and advancement? Then get it recognized!
Nominate your company or another deserving organization for Computerworld's 2014 Best Places to Work in IT list now through Dec. 12, 2013.