Credit Card Super Hacker 'Genius,' Lived Lavishly

Dennis Faas's picture

Two days ago we reported the case of Albert Gonzalez, a recently-apprehended hacker who went on a record-breaking credit card heist that cracked as many as 130 million accounts. Now, we're learning more about the man being the scheme, a veritable hacking prodigy raised on the craft from an early age.

Albert Gonzalez was indicted in New Jersey earlier this week for what most consider to be the biggest credit card hack since the turn of the 21st century. Known around the Internet as the "soupnazi," a take on the curmudgeonly but very popular Seinfeld character, Gonzalez has been hacking for a long time.

Despite modest roots -- his father emigrated from Cuba in the 1970s and Albert spent most of his early years in a $54,000 Miami home -- Gonzalez emerged as a prodigal computer hacker at an early age.

Gonzalez a "self-taught genius"

According to friends of the accused, Gonzalez had few friends and spent most of his time in front of the computer his parents bought for him at age 8. He vowed to learn his new toy from the inside out after it received its first virus, a problem Albert was frustrated to find that he could not immediately solve. (Source:

"The kid is a self-taught genius," said one family friend. "Albert never had a normal childhood. He had no friends. His best friend was his computer. He would spend hours on the computer." (Source:

Gonzalez was first arrested for hacking in 2003, but charges did not follow. The easy ride didn't send him the signal to stop, so Gonzalez continued to hone his craft, and over the next half-decade slowly accumulated an impressive track record and bank account by hacking Fortune 500 companies.

Hacker Lived Large Prior to Arrest

According to reports, he bought a $118,000 one-bedroom condo near his parents and threw himself a lavish $75,000 birthday party. He complained to friends when his money counter broke, he was forced to count $340,000 in twenty-dollar bills himself.

Gonzalez hit the big time when he constructed a complex hack that could invade computer networks in order to mine credit and debit card information that could be forwarded to safe servers in a number of U.S. states and European countries. That, we're told, is how he eventually accumulated the reported 130 million credit card accounts.

Gonzalez was talented and brilliant, no doubt -- but at the end of the day, he's still a thief, no less.

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