Who Is Albert Gonzalez?
The best way to understand a person's motivation for committing a crime, is to look into their history. Cyber crime is no different. In this in-depth look at the online fraud case against Albert Gonzalez, we'll get some insight into why he committed the largest identity fraud case in U.S. history. 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.
That was the first of many red flags in Albert's troubled history with hacking. 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. Albert has always been known as someone who had the abilities, but what was his motivation? Was it credibility in the online world? No, otherwise he wouldn't have given up his cohorts so easily. Was it the need to be the best at what he does? No, otherwise he wouldn't have formed a group to help him. Was it to help find vulnerabilities for companies so that he could swoop in and help? Absolutely not, he would've stopped well before he was selling credit cards, debit cards and social security numbers in the online black market.
One thing to always understand about cyber crime is that its not about credibility or trying to be the 'best', as movies would have you believe. In the end, the main motivator is greed and the motivation is financial gain. The weak security standards of large corporations in conjunction with slow to react cyber crime legislation around the world, the 'why' part of this equation is answered easily. Albert had the abilities and motivation to perform one of the largest online fraud cases in U.S. history.