Chief Culprit of DarkMarket Pleaded Guilty

A 33-year-old Sri Lankan man named 'Renukanth Subramaniam' residing in London accepted that he masterminded DarkMarket, the world's highly sinister Internet crime forum for hackers, as reported by SCMagazine on January 15, 2010.

On January 13, 2010, Subramaniam pleaded guilty at a London court to charges that he connived to defraud, a spokeswoman of the court said.

Mainstream media, which described DarkMarket as "Facebook for fraudsters," reported that it was a platform to buy-and-sell stolen credit cards data. The site also enabled trading of services and tools with which members could acquire and use the stolen information. Thus, botnet rentals, payment card blanks and tips were provided to hackers on how to appropriately add a credit card skimmer to a cash-point.

To hire a spam-spewing botnet, DarkMarket charged the user $50/day. Further, if an individual wanted the details to access or compromise someone account, he had to pay $150 for every account holding a $10,000 balance and $300 for one carrying a $20,000 balance.

Moreover, any person wish to join the site could do so strictly via an invitation. However, once evaluated, all the 2,000 traders could deal with a range of things. These included credit card information acquired via phishing, hacking and tools to skim ATMs, and viruses that buyers could use for money extortion via company website hacks.

There were numerous members of DarkMarket, operating from Canada, USA, UK, France, Germany, Turkey and Russia. The Serious Organized Crime Agency of UK, which helped foil the site's activities, stated that it was impossible to arrive at any particular figure regarding the amount banks lost in the process globally.

Meanwhile, the reports state that another man too acknowledged that he assisted in running DarkMarket. Aged 66, England-based, John McHugh too pleaded guilty at the London court when charged with connivance to defraud. Using a pseudo-name "Devilman," McHugh recruited fresh members for DarkMarket, as reported by SCMagazine on Januay 15, 2010.

Evidently, both men would be sentenced for up to 10 years by March 12, 2010, with McHugh likely to get a less harsh sentence than Subramaniam, the chief culprit, said the spokeswoman.

Related article: Cop Accused of Using spyware to Stalk His Ex

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