Massive Stolen Credit Card Number Site Shut Down

from the good-work dept

It took quite some time for authorities around the world to recognize the extent to which organized crime was using the internet for various scams and frauds, but in the last year or so, it seems like many agencies around the world really are looking to go after the criminals. The latest example is that Darkmarket, an invitation-only secretive forum for buying and selling credit card numbers, has been shut down, and 60 people involved with the site have been simultaneously arrested. This is definitely a step up from what we were hearing just a couple of years ago, where the best authorities could do was arrest kids messing around with phishing scams, rather than actually going after the organized criminals who were the real issue. Cracking down on one site and arresting 60 individuals isn't going to stop these scammers, but it's at least good to see authorities trying to focus on the real problem cases, rather than just the small fry. Update: As was pointed out in the comments, it appears the original BBC article we relied on has the story a bit wrong. The site itself was actually an FBI-run honeypot. So, while the site was taken down, the story of how the whole process worked is quite different than what was implied in the first article.


Reader Comments (rss)

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  1.  
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    DCG2, Oct 17th, 2008 @ 1:22am

    Please Get The Story Straight

    DarkMarket was run by an employee of the NCFTA. It was a massive honey pot.

    http://blog.wired.com/27bstroke6/2008/10/darkmarket-post.html

     

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  2.  
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    Wibble, Oct 17th, 2008 @ 1:35am

    Or you could read the story here

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/10/14/darkmarket_sting/

    I'm all for these kind of stings. I just would of expected the BBC to have done better research before publishing the story. But I suppose the headline "FBI shuts down own website used to trade credit card details" doesn't have quite the same ring to it.

     

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  3.  
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    NeoConBushSupporter, Oct 17th, 2008 @ 5:19am

    Could be a problem

    Wow this is terrible, now where is ACORN going to get its fraudulent voter registrations from.

     

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  4.  
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    Lonnie E. Holder, Oct 17th, 2008 @ 5:20am

    A criminal is a criminal...

    Mike:

    I concur that an internet market place for stolen credit card numbers is more important to shut down than a bunch of juvenile delinquents phishing. However, to judge law enforcement efforts based on the significance of a crime seems a bit short sighted. By that measure, police would never bother with shop lifters because their individual crimes are insignificant, even though the amount stolen by shop lifters each year is several billion dollars in the United States. Similarly, police should be unconcerned about people not signaling before changing lanes because this illegal action only causes a few accidents each year.

    Phishing for the purpose of stealing is a crime, and I applaud law enforcement efforts to capture criminals, regardless of whether the crime only nets a few hundred dollars or millions.

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 17th, 2008 @ 5:22am

    How can you be *for* these kinds of stings?

    There is a reason why Entrapment is illegal in the US, and stings have always tread a little close to it for comfort. That's one reason why there are so few stings.

    Face the facts. A police force in a free (libre) society is supposed to be a reactionary force for the most part. Increasingly though, police forces are becoming militarized* and what constitute a crime is being spread and stretched.

    When murder or rape are no longer the stiffest penalized (provided you don't get the death sentence in the former) there is a serious issue that needs to be addressed.

    * Note: militarized in the sense that neutralizing a problem means that the end justifies the means. I like the military, but I know damn well that you don't want it operating in your back yard.

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 17th, 2008 @ 7:29am

    Re: How can you be *for* these kinds of stings?

    "* Note: militarized in the sense that neutralizing a problem means that the end justifies the means. I like the military, but I know damn well that you don't want it operating in your back yard."

    Oh, you mean the "Bush Doctrine". Couldn't help but take a poke of fun at the Palin interviews and your comment.

    To be more substantive, the world seems to steadily, slowly, skeptically winding down the Minority Report road.

     

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  7.  
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    Lonnie E. Holder, Oct 17th, 2008 @ 7:30am

    Re: How can you be *for* these kinds of stings?

    Actually, there are a lot of stings, and they are spread across the country, used by law enforcement at all levels. Other countries use them as well. However, the rules for stings are quite clear, and a poorly conducted sting will lead to a charge of entrapment and ultimate dismissal of the case.

    Face the facts. A police force in a free (libre) society is supposed to be a reactionary force for the most part.

    Says who? I would prefer the police drive through my neighborhood periodically rather than waiting until after someone has burglarized my home. I would argue that police patrols are preventative more than reactive. Counting the amount of time that local law enforcement spends in patrolling versus investigating crime, I would argue that the majority of police time is spent in preventative activities rather than reacting activities.

    Increasingly though, police forces are becoming militarized* and what constitute a crime is being spread and stretched.

    Gee, and all this time I thought crimes were defined by law, and those laws were adjudicated in courts. You make it sound as though the police are redefining what constitutes a crime. I would like to see some evidence of that.

     

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  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 17th, 2008 @ 7:33am

    Re: Re: How can you be *for* these kinds of stings?

    "Gee, and all this time I thought crimes were defined by law, and those laws were adjudicated in courts. You make it sound as though the police are redefining what constitutes a crime. I would like to see some evidence of that."

    Basically he is. While it isn't extreme to date, there is a lot of "Crime Intervention" that borders on Crime Prevention by proactive vs. reactive. Acting on a crime that a citizen only comtemplates is the future, get in line.

     

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  9.  
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    jonnyq, Oct 17th, 2008 @ 7:56am

    Re: Re: How can you be *for* these kinds of stings?

    There's a difference between driving up and down a road (and then reacting to what you see) and the act of, say, selling drugs to someone so you can arrest them for buying drugs. And there's a difference between crime prevention and stings.

    I'm all for patrolling and prevention, but I'm not sure how I feel about this one.

     

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  10.  
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    Lonnie E. Holder, Oct 17th, 2008 @ 8:13am

    Re: Re: Re: How can you be *for* these kinds of stings?

    Holy shades of "Minority Report." Our current laws essentially say that you cannot arrest someone for saying they are going to rob a bank until they actually are in the act of doing so. It would take a huge change in our laws to arrest someone for contemplated crime. Even then, you would end up arresting nearly everyone for something; I may speed, I may roll through a stop sign, I may think about "stretching" a deduction just a little to decrease my taxes slightly, I may copy something and claim it as mine - all contemplation, but never executed; is there anyone who has yet to be arrested, including the police?

     

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  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward #42, Oct 17th, 2008 @ 8:16am

    Re: How can you be *for* these kinds of stings?

    I know the honeypot concept is the subject of many ethical debates, and it is somewhat of a gray area. However, I personally believe that in this case, the end does justify the means. People don't do bad/illegal things just because they're presented with an opportunity. If I found an empty car in a deserted parking lot with the doors unlocked and keys inside, I wouldn't even begin to think of stealing it. In fact, I might even try to figure out who it belongs to and tell them they should really lock it and take the keys.

    We are each responsible for the actions we take. If you see an opportunity to do something wrong, you have the choice to do it, or to not do it. If you do it, you have to face the consequences. I personally don't believe that running a stolen credit card number website is going to entice anybody to buy stolen card numbers that wouldn't otherwise do it. Even if it did, anybody who's in there knows blame well that what they're doing is illegal, and they deserve to be nailed.

    Furthermore, how you can claim that trying to defeat credit card fraud is "stretching the law" is beyond me. Wrong is wrong, regardless of the levels of severity we try to attach to it. And I don't see this as a non-reactionary effort. People were buying and selling stolen credit cards, so the authorities setup a trap to catch them. That's pretty much fits the reactionary description in my book. Honestly, I wish they'd go even further. For example, I would like to see police be more proactive about nailing drunk people that try to drive off from bars after happy hour. Waiting to nail these drunken morons AFTER they've killed or paralyzed someone in accident, to me, seems like too little too late, especially for the families of those that got hurt or killed. Unfortunately, there aren't enough police to go around, so such efforts are futile. I'm happy to see that the FBI was able to successfully nail this ring.

     

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  12.  
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    Lonnie E. Holder, Oct 17th, 2008 @ 8:17am

    Re: Re: Re: How can you be *for* these kinds of stings?

    We have to rely on our court system to protect us from police who break the law while trying to enforce it.

    As for those who attempt to purchase drugs from police, the police have to be very careful what they say or the sting will be considered entrapment. Should we be concerned regarding how police conduct stings? Yes. However, the only people that will respond to these kinds of stings are people looking for drugs already. They essentially convict themselves.

     

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  13.  
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    Lonnie E. Holder, Oct 17th, 2008 @ 8:19am

    Re: Re: How can you be *for* these kinds of stings?

    Well, I am unsure of whether I followed everything you said, but in general I think you are right; especially regarding drunks.

     

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  14.  
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    chris (profile), Oct 17th, 2008 @ 8:35am

    this isn't the first sting, just the biggest

    members of shadowcrew, carderplanet, and couterfietmarket were turned by the feds a few years ago and smaller busts were made. in my opinion, the feds should keep the sites up and running and target individual criminals with low profile busts.

    like all high profile busts of big websites, the members scatter and form smaller groups that are even more underground.

     

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  15.  
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    eric, Oct 31st, 2008 @ 9:54pm

    i love it

    please i will like to join can you please tell me what to do

     

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  16.  
    identicon
    irshaad, Jan 7th, 2009 @ 3:25am

    well done

    way keep it up

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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