One could argue that Gonzalez is the man that kicked off the flurry of arrests leading to the capture of cybercrime masterminds. Picked up in 2003, Gonzalez and his cohorts were fingered for hacking into systems at Heartland Payments, TJX, Dave and Busters, OfficeMax and a host of other companies to nick more than 130 million debit and credit cards. Serving out his 20-year sentence, the largest handed down by any U.S. court for cybercriminal behavior, Gonzalez has claimed he was working at the behest of the U.S. government, which indeed has confirmed he was an informant.
Marcel Lehel Lazar, aka Guccifer, is notorious for hacking into the personal email accounts of a number of celebrities and public figures, including family and friends of President George H.W. Bush. Arrested in January, the cab driver turned hacker received a four-year sentence in a Romanian court in June.
Whether he’s a good guy or a bad guy depends on perspective, but hacktivist Brown found himself in the custody of authorities in 2012 on 12 charges relating to the theft of credit card information from intelligence firm Stratfor in an Anonymous-led intrusion.
John Gordon Baden
The FBI struck one name from its “Most Wanted Cyber Fugitives” list with the November arrest of Baden in Tijuana, Mexico. In October the bureau offered a $5,000 reward for tips that led to Baden, who, along with two other men, stole the identities of 40,000 people, then maintained access to a U.S. mortgage broker’s network for two years and siphoned millions of dollars from various bank and brokerage accounts.
BitInstant CEO Shrem was arrested on money laundering charges linking him with shady deals made through Silk Road. Reports had the 24-year-old bitcoin exchange executive nabbed at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport, after he allegedly helped a Florida man, Robert Faiella, sell more than $1 million worth of bitcoins to customers using Silk Road.
Notorious enough to go by a single name, like Cher or Elvis, the author of the BlackHole exploit kit was picked up in Russia in 2013 and subsequently prosecuted for BlackHole schemes that resulted in stealing login credentials and other information then sending lenders fraudulent payment orders on behalf of victimized accounts.
Extradited back to the U.S. in 2010, the Estonian man was accused, along with his co-conspirators, of obtaining unauthorized access to the computer network of RBS WorldPay, now known as WorldPay.
Fredrik Neij, Peter Sunde and Gottfrid Svartholm Warg
Swedish and Danish authorities can close the books on the case of Pirate Bay cofounders convicted of hacking government systems, violating copyright laws and other illegal activity. Neij was picked up in Thailand in November after trying to cross the border into Laos. Sunde was arrested in Sweden in May and Warg was picked up in 2013.
Netted by the FBI as part of Operation Torpedo, the former acting director of cyber security at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) was accused and convicted of seven counts of child pornography charges, including engaging in a child exploitation enterprise as well as in conspiracy to advertise and distribute child porn and accessing a computer with intent to view child porn..
Hacking into Paris Hilton’s phone. Accessing a college’s servers to change grades. Stealing payment card information. The 25-year-old New Bedford, Mass., hacker has been very busy upsetting law enforcement with his hijinks since he was 17. But it all caught up with him when he was arrested on multiple charges in 2013 and was subsequently sentenced for his crimes.
Thanks to a little luck, the inevitable missteps of over-ambitious cyber crooks and the kind of solid investigative work that would make Eliot Ness beam with pride, over the last decade law enforcement agents have arrested some top names in cyber crime, busted up identity theft rings and taken down dark websites. While jails are not teeming with cybercriminals nor have those efforts made a significant dent in cyber crime, their impact is being felt. What’s more impressive – many of the arrests are the culmination of aggressive, coordinated efforts between local, state, federal and international law enforcement agents.