Actions Against Cybercriminals Heating Up


The web is a dangerous place for the uninformed and unprotected. Make sure you are trained and aware. Did you know that there have been several major crime busts in the war against cybercriminals recently?

Indeed, a new quarterly report from McAfee Labs shows some eye-opening statistics about actions taken recently against cybercriminals, including the following incidents:

• Eight suspects in the United States and elsewhere were indicted for their involvement in an online drug market accessible only through the Tor anonymizing network. The suspects allegedly ran a website called The Farmer’s Market, which offered LSD, ecstasy, marijuana, and other drugs for sale. Between January 2007 and October 2009 they processed about 5,256 online orders to 3,000 customers in 34 countries for a value at more than $1 million. Before moving to Tor in 2010, The Farmer’s Market processed orders through Hushmail, an encrypted email service.

• On April 26, a British crime agency worked with the FBI and Department of Justice, targeting 36 criminal websites dealing with stolen credit card and online bank account information. These sites used e-commerce platforms known as automated vending carts to allow criminals to quickly and easily sell large quantities of stolen data.

• On May 3, a New Jersey attorney announced that several men, arrested in December 2011, admitted their roles in an Internet fraud ring that stole more than $1.3 million after phishing confidential account information from Internet users. Creating fake drivers’ licenses, they impersonated real customers to make unauthorized withdrawals from victims’ accounts.

• In May, police in Quebec arrested 45 people from an international fraud ring active in Britain, Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, and Tunisia. The authorities seized more than 12,000 counterfeit bank cards. The fraud ring allegedly drained $100 million from the accounts of unsuspecting bank card holders. Fraudsters specialized in filming and modifying ATM machines, tried to steal PIN numbers or hack into computer terminals in stores, or forged counterfeit cards for illegal withdrawals. In some cases, they modified machines from businesses and restaurants, rigging them using Bluetooth technology to read the credit and debit card information contained on the computer.

• Two British hackers, known by their online pseudonyms as t0pp8uzz and GM, were sentenced to jail after investigators accused them of running a fraud website worth an estimated $41 million (£26.9 million). Arrested in 2011, they managed Freshshop, a site that resold stolen financial information.

• The FBI arrested 24 people here and abroad in what they say is the largest-ever undercover operation targeting the global online trade of stolen credit card numbers. This operation started in June 2010 when the FBI established an undercover forum called Carder Profit, enabling the agents to monitor carding activity. During the course of the operation the FBI supplied credit card providers with details on 411,000 compromised cards, leading to an estimated savings of $205 million.


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Elaine Rigoli

Elaine Rigoli is PRIVATE WiFi's manager of digital content strategy.

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