Hack Pack

Hack Pack
Hack Pack

Forwarded from: Justin Lundy 

By Tim Elfrink 
Miami New Times
May 20 2010

Andres Torres was dozing on a couch with the blinds drawn when he heard 
a chorus of boots pounding the stairs. The pudgy retiree with a fringe 
of white hair hobbled toward the door just as quiet settled over the 
yellow building of one-bedroom condos. In the distance, cars hummed off 
the Palmetto Expressway and onto Bird Road.

Then, suddenly, a burst of husky voices sounded in the open-air hallway. 
A battering ram splintered his neighbor's door. Torres scuffled toward 
the sound, his mouth hanging open.

Federal agents in riot gear swarmed past.

"Are there terrorists in there?" Torres asked. An agent sent him back 
inside. The retiree watched through a crack in the blinds as the feds 
hauled out a cash-counting machine and computer gear.

It was May 7, 2008, just before 5 p.m. With military precision, agents 
at that moment were raiding five other homes across Miami-Dade. There 
was a red-tile-roofed house in Coral Gables, a one-story home in 
Pinecrest, and an apartment just south of Killian Parkway. A hydroponic 
marijuana grow house in West Kendall was also targeted. Cops even burst 
into Room 1508 at the National Hotel, a celebrity hangout at 17th Street 
and Collins Avenue in Miami Beach.

The lawmen confiscated more than a dozen computers and $422,000 in cash. 
They found evidence on the hard drives linking the computers to massive 
online thefts from huge companies such as T.J. Maxx, 7-Eleven, and Dave 
& Buster's. More than 170 million credit card numbers worth hundreds of 
millions of dollars had been stolen by a criminal ring stretching from 
the United States to Latvia, from Ukraine to Thailand.

It was the biggest identity theft case ever prosecuted. And at its heart 
were four gifted hackers born and raised in South Florida: Albert 
Gonzalez, AKA "soupnazi," had broken into NASA's systems as a teen and 
later worked undercover for the Secret Service; Jonathan James, known as 
"c0mrade" earned national fame at age 16 as the youngest hacker 
incarcerated; and James's best friend at Palmetto Senior High, 
Christopher Scott, was in custody too, as was Stephen Watt, AKA "Unix 
Terrorist," a blindingly smart, seven-foot-tall prodigy from Melbourne.


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