Capital One hacking suspect Paige Thompson presented herself on social media as a cat-loving software engineer, who found it hard to make friends and was open about her struggles as a transgender woman.
But federal prosecutors said Monday that there was much more to the 33-year-old Seattle resident’s life — as they accused her of being the person behind one of the largest data breaches in history.
An FBI investigation concluded Thompson — who allegedly went by the online handle “Erratic” — used her computer skills to obtain the personal information of more than 100 million Capital One credit card customers and applicants, and intended to share it online.
Thompson also regularly shared details of her own life online, from information about her beloved cat, Millie, to talking about her desire to kill herself.
Thompson frequently posted photos of the feline and mourned the pet when it was put down last Tuesday, calling the death, “One of the most painful and emotionally overwhelming experience I’ve had in my life.”
It was a veterinarian letter Thompson posted on July 19 with her home address that ultimately led FBI agents to her door.
On social media, the software engineer identified as transgender and spoke about her difficulty making friends.
She also shared her mental health struggles and in one tweet claimed she was planning to travel to Denmark in October for legally assisted suicide.
Thompson’s resume lists her as most recently working for Amazon Web Services between May 2015 and September 2016.
Thompson’s current address is listed as an apartment in the Kenwood neighborhood of Seattle.
FBI agents found five people in the apartment, including Thompson, when they raided the home on Monday.
On the social media site, Slack, a user by the name “Erratic,” and who was allegedly Thompson, in June boasted about having files taken from Capital One, according to the criminal complaint against her.
In a separate Twitter message obtained by the FBI, Thompson also described the Capital One hack as a suicide mission.
“I’ve basically strapped myself with a bomb vest,” Thompson wrote on June 18, according to court documents. “F–king dropping capitol ones dox and admitting it.”
The data included approximately 120,000 Social Security Numbers and approximately 77,000 bank account numbers, according to the complaint.
Thompson’s motive remains unclear but prosecutors allege she intended to share the stolen information.
She has been charged with one count of computer fraud and abuse and if convicted, faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.