The Great Cyberheist

The New York Times Magazine details the rise and fall of Albert Gonzales, aka soupnazi, a Cuban-American who Secret Service agents call the world’s greatest cybervillian.

Over the course of several years, during much of which he worked for the government, Gonzalez and his crew of hackers and other affiliates gained access to roughly 180 million payment-card accounts from the customer databases of some of the most well known corporations in America: OfficeMax, BJ’s Wholesale Club, Dave & Buster’s restaurants, the T. J. Maxx and Marshalls clothing chains. They hacked into Target, Barnes & Noble, JCPenney, Sports Authority, Boston Market and 7-Eleven’s bank-machine network. In the words of the chief prosecutor in Gonzalez’s case, “The sheer extent of the human victimization caused by Gonzalez and his organization is unparalleled.”

For years an informant/adviser to the the U.S. government’s cybercrime unit, Gonzales is now two years in to a 20-year stretch at Club Fed. Reports of hacking dropped noticeably in 2009 when the government shut him down.