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Saturday, January 29, 2011

Case of Albert Gonzalez : The Largest Online Fraud in U.S. History

1. This case that I recently read in brief pertains to an interesting online fraud case against Albert Gonzalez.I have made it in a sequential point to compress the complete story for easy reading and grasping :

(a) Albert started using computers at an early age, and while in high school, managed to hack into the Government of India's website[ :( ]. Sadly, he was not charged at this stage and only warned to stay away from computers for six months.

(b) At the age of 19, he started his own group of hackers, named ShadowCrew, which trafficked over a million credit card numbers for use in online fraud. When the FBI finally managed to shut the group down, Albert was charged. However, he worked with the investigators and gave away vital information on his cohorts and did not need to serve a sentence. 

(c) Still on,Albert after two years worth of hardwork(????) compromised on sensitive data including 45.6 million credit and debit cards.

(d) TJX Companies notified the authorities of their data leakage. Albert had the abilities to crack and hack his way through, but the low security measures didn't help TJX. Albert was able to install his malware and sniffing software onto the networks of TJX and all the stores operating under them, even outside of the United States. TJX discovered the breach in December of 2006 and was under the belief that they had only been losing data for the past six to seven months, dating back to May 2006. After further investigation, they found that they were losing sensitive data since 2005. Albert had already moved on to bigger and better operations by the time TJX had even started discovering the extent of their security breach.

(e) Gonzalez and his accomplices used SQL injection techniques to create malware backdoors on several corporate systems in order to launch packet sniffing (specifically, ARP Spoofing) attacks which allowed him to steal computer data from internal corporate networks.

(f) During his spree he was said to have thrown himself a $75,000 birthday party and complained about having to count $340,000 by hand after his currency-counting machine broke.(ha ha!!!!anyway)

(g) Gonzalez had three federal indictments:
- May 2008 in New York for the Dave & Busters case (trial schedule September 2009)
- May 2008 in Massachusetts for the TJ Maxx case (trial scheduled early 2010)
- August 2009 in New Jersey in connection with the Heartland Payment case.

(h). On March 25, 2010, Gonzalez was sentenced to 20 years in federal prison.

2. For details of the case with many links please visit HERE


  1. you have just given us a shorter version of the wikipedia page for him.