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The ‘Original Internet Godfather’ Probably Stole Your Credit Car

The internet turned credit card fraud into a global industry. Online, fraudsters met on forums, swapping tips, coordinating plans, and reselling stolen credit card numbers in bulk. This framework of cybercrime, carved out of the social web of the early 2000s, is the template that cybercrime syndicates still use today. Much of this can be traced back to Brett Johnson, administrator of the most successful of these forums: ShadowCrew. ShadowCrew became the focus of an ongoing cat-and-mouse game between police and thieves, featuring complex undercover operations, prison breakouts, and some of the largest—and most costly—data breaches in history. For the second episode of our Kernel Panic series, exploring the most devastating hacks and exploits in the history of the internet, we take you into the rise, fall, and aftermath of ShadowCrew, and the birth of modern credit card fraud.

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