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FBI Nets Cyber Criminals Under the Cover of ‘DarkMarket’ Website

As per a report published in Wired's Threat Level blog, DarkMarket.ws, a forum for cyber criminals, is frequently visited by spammers, phishers, identity thieves and online scammers to buy stolen data and to share tips, revealed after the FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation) sting.

Reports from another news site, Wired, published in the 2nd week of October 2008 suggested that the FBI used Dark Market's Website to create its users' profiles. The agency traced the users' IP addresses and monitored their movements on the Website and was able to catch a large number of internet scammers.

Reports also stated that the number of online criminals arrested via the FBI's sting operation further helped the Investigation Bureau to capture compromised accounts preventing the financial loss of nearly US$ 70 Million in online fraud. As a result, a huge number potential spamming, phishing or ID theft attacks from the cyber criminals were also prevented.

Additionally, the reports present the FBI's disclosure of the site operators. The site is operated by none other than FBI which had registered over 2,500 members. A number of registered members were found to be phishers, identity thieves or online scammers, reveals after investigation.

FBI in its report of investigation stated that the products being traded on the DarkMarket Website ranged from specially designed hardware to e-banking login details that were collected via phishing attacks to stolen confidential data. Both types of information are needed to know a consumer's full identity so that scammers may commit financial frauds against different people.

However, prior to revealing the Website's details, it was thought that the site running by a cyber criminal named Master Splyntr. On October 13, 2008, German Public Radio reported that the FBI had been running the sting operation against DarkMarket.ws since late 2006, and that Master Splyntr was in fact an FBI agent named J. Keith Mularski, trying to catch phishers and online scammers.

Further, according to the reports, Federal Bureau of Investigation ran the sting operation in cooperation of the UK's Serious Organized Crime Agency and authorities in Germany and Turkey.

Related article: FBI’s ICCC Annual Report Discusses Fraudulent and Non-Fraudulent Complaints

» SPAMfighter News - 10/27/2008

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