Who doesn’t know about shut down of fraud markets in the deep web world of criminals?
Here we are talking about another case of one of the largest Deep web markets taken down by law enforcement. Yes, you read it right; on April 4, 2023, authorities took the initiative to shut down the world’s biggest notorious marketplace known as Genesis Market. Which was run by fraudsters to buy and sell passwords. Well, now it has been cracked down by law enforcement.
Authorities seized Genesis Marketplace as a part of “Operation Cookie Monster” led by the FBI and Dutch police. According to the Department of Justice, this website was launched in 2018. The website provided access to information collected from more than 1.5 million affected computers. Furthermore, there are 80 million credentials that are used to access accounts.
Introduction of the Genesis Market:
Genesis Market was a leading fraud shop offering things involved in cybercrime and has users from all over the world. It was a big online marketplace that used to sell several forms of identity theft. Including hacked email addresses, social media accounts, and bank and cryptocurrency service accounts.
All the available information is examined in a searchable database. These accounts allowed buyers to bypass multi-factor authentication as Genesis provided active session cookies for them. Police describe Genesis Market as a “dangerous” website, and it specializes in selling IP addresses and login details and also saves the cookies data that leave their digital footprints.
Genesis Market even had digital fingerprints and 80 million sets of credentials being sold on the dark web market, leading NCA to call it “an enormous enabler of fraud.”
Beginning of the Illegal Genesis Market:
As mentioned above, the authorities seized Genesis Market as a part of the “Operation Cookie Monster.” The Genesis Market site began all the way back in 2018. And allows access to the stolen data from more than 1.5 million comprised computers, which had more than 80 million credentials. According to the Department of Justice, these credentials can be used to access accounts.
Genesis Market was a big website facilitated in the English Language. It was a big place for fraud for identity, personal data, and passwords to sites like Amazon, Facebook, PayPal, and even Netflix. In the beginning, the website had 80 million digital profiles, and data from about 1.5 million computers was stolen. And more than two million victims were recorded.
Shut Down of the Largest Deep Web Markets by Law Enforcement:
This illicit online market that used to sell stolen information like passwords, social media and bank accounts, and any other kind of sensitive information. With these ongoing illegal activities, the site was shut down by law enforcement authorities in the US, UK, Dutch, and other agencies.
Also, the European police reportedly arrested 119 people involved or had a connection with this illicit website case. The Genesis Market was not only seized by the police. But it also was deleted from the mainstream internet search engines.
Earnings of the Genesis Market During Its Lifetime
Genesis Market earned tens of millions and billions during its lifetime just by selling stolen information and fingerprints of the people. Which it exploited through installing malware and hacking attacks. These millions and billions of worth of cryptocurrencies, specifically in Bitcoin. Most of the funds Genesis Market received over time came from mainstream exchanges, with the crypto ATMs contributing a significant amount.
We also see a few raises in the value received from the services that we have been labeled risky now. These exchanges are either low or without KYC (Know your customer/client). Also, some of the active members sent funds to Genesis, including ransomware attackers, underground money laundering services, and other cyber criminals.
Take note of how little is sent from each of these groups. While $15 given by a credit card broker may not seem like much. It might represent significant financial losses for 15 people because credentials bought on Genesis can cost much little, almost $1 or less.
Importance of these Fraud Deep Web Markets in Cybercrime:
Fraud shops hold an important position in the cybercriminal world. They are operated on the dark web. They help and facilitate the buying and selling of stolen data and personal information. Now, this information can be used for various cybercriminal activities, which include ransomware, scamming, and identity theft.
- The cyber black market has been evolving and is a growing market. It is said to be a network of highly organized groups of traditional cybercriminals.
- The black market of cybercrimes is just like any other market. Customers connect through various channels to place orders and purchase their products.
- The evolution of markets begins with the innovation, effort, and growth they put into it.
- The Cyberblack market can be more profitable than the illegal trading of drugs.
What Was Happening During These Raids Led by the FBI?
During these raids, 24 people in Grimsby Lincolnshire. These people included 2 men aged 34 years who the UL’s National Crime Agency arrested. Which means 120 people were arrested. Now, these people were suspected users of the site were being held on suspicion of fraud and misuse of computers.
Law enforcement agencies from 17 countries were involved in these raids. Which were led by the FBI and also included 45 FBI field offices present in the United States and Dutch National Police, including the UK and National Crime Agency, the Australian Federal Police, and countries across Europe.
So, after the seizure and arrests, if anyone logging into the Genesis website saw a message that read “Operation Cookie Monster. This website has been seized.” These criminals had been stealing and hacking the credentials of innocent people and putting them up for sale, as per the report by the NCA.
The seizure and complete shutdown of this market was a big achievement for authorities. Allowing the agencies and police department to celebrate their success, whereas big loss for all the cybercriminals.
How Was the Genesis Different Than Other Dark Web Markets?
Well, the Genesis Market with the things that they offer is different compared to the other dark web markets. To understand it, we are here to make it clear that most of the seizures and arrests involve individual buyers rather than people critical to the operation. Instead of providing individual sales, it offers a subscription service that would allow the user to get access to updated information.
Law enforcement not only shut down the Genesis Market and other markets of deep web like this. But also the web domains used by the market, which took the whole market entirely offline. The dark web market is based in Russia; therefore, it makes it impossible to arrest any individual unless the Russian Government wants them to.
The personal files of individuals who were stolen were put up for sale and then updated over time by the website operators. Massive data breaches were rolled in, sending alerts to customers to pay for continual access to these sites. And the customers who had the subscription even got the alarms for when there was an update or a piece of new information. This personal information consists of Amazon, Netflix, and PayPal accounts.
The Internet Safety Came with the Shut down of one of the Deep Web Markets
Marketplaces that sell data might not be the first thing you think of when you think of cybercrime and your online security. However, these sorts of crimes are important to enable scamming, malware, ransomware attacks, and hacking of accounts. Including banks, cryptocurrencies, and even social media accounts.
The shutdown of such a dangerous marketplace has made it easier for people to browse safely on the internet. However, there are still active members of this kind of crime despite the seizure of the Genesis Market. These criminals were using falsified data to hide their identity.
These cybercriminals hacked the data by Installing malware through different channels into the computers of various users all around the world. These innocent people unknowingly fall into their trap as those malware links look completely normal and legit safe. And by clicking on them, they don’t even know what they are getting themselves into. Or putting extensions in your browser that look like they are operating from the browse, however, putting your data at risk.
Sites like Genesis Market are really exploiting the users by selling their identity. Which could be used by other people who can illegally pretend to be the person whose identity was stolen.
Arrest of these Criminals in the UK:
Well, it is not clear how many people are arrested, but according to the National Crime Agency, only 30 people are arrested in the UK related to this case and have been charged for these crimes. Comments by the users are still being posted on the Genesis marketplaces; however, they are limited in numbers.
Although 17 countries came together to catch these criminals and arrest them to stop the cybercrime in the world and make the internet a safe place for anyone. As per reports, people who had a connection with this site are still active means they must be roaming around somewhere in the world. Even though when the FBI seizes the site.
Was Shutting Down the Genesis Market a Complete Success?
Shutting down the Genesis Market was never a fully successful act or was never a full victory for law enforcement. This website was made with the intention of continuously sending malware and continuing to feed its market with new and fresh kinds of information.
This website was one of the easy-to-find dark marketplaces, and its access only depended on receiving an invitation from a person who was already a member there. And, of course, many people with membership were willing to sell it to anyone who was there to buy it.
The Genesis Market was a user-friendly site compared to other sites. It has all the required features. However, the site now displays a number of logos from different organizations of law enforcement. Furthermore, it also has a message on the top that says the FBI has seized the website.
Users from All around the World:
As mentioned above, the users of the genesis market are located worldwide. Federal law enforcement has operated to find many users of this market who bought and used stolen access identifications to commit fraud and other cybercrimes.
This operation caused hundreds of people to be sent to FBI field offices all over the United States of America and also foreign law enforcement associates. Furthermore, this operation also caused law enforcement to detain, pursuant to court order 11 domain name used to sustain this market organization.
United States of America’s Contribution to the Largest Shutdown of Deep Web Markets by Law Enforcement
Attorney Haanstad of the United States of America stated that the operation being proclaimed today is the straight outcome of the hard work, enthusiasm, and exceptional cooperative efforts of the FBI. And its associates all over the world, along with the exploratory associates and our justice department colleagues. My office remains dedicated to using all accessible tools to save individuals from cybercrime. Like those who run these kinds of online marketplaces on the dark web and deep web.
Moreover, FBI Director Christopher Wray also stated about this operation that the shutdown of one of the deep web markets, known as the Genesis Market. It is a demonstration of the FBI’s commitment to disrupting and dismantling key services used by criminals to facilitate cybercrimes.
He also says that the work in this instance is a great sample of the FBI’s capability to influence our technical skills and work side by side with our worldwide associates to get rid of the tools cybercriminals depend on to persecute individuals all over the world.
However, the key force behind the genesis market of the dark web also has the choice to swing their business to an encoded platform. Like telegram till they are prepared to re-appear with a new alternative site or forum. If past examples are any suggestion, they could have a new dark web or deep web market up and booming in just a few months.
Victims of Genesis Market and American Cyber Security
Genesis is supposed to have traded some 80 million credentials during its run of approximately half a decade. Law enforcement believes that the target count is much minor due to victims securing accounts and organizations becoming alert of data breaches before their data can be effectively arranged.
The United States of National Cybersecurity Associations guesses that the total Genesis target count was about two million, which is a striking number of people. But one that specifies either a very high rate of disappointment for credentials procured. There are a lot of products that do not illustrate any attention.
Q. Can these deep web markets get you in trouble?
Accessing the deep web itself is not illegal; however, if you indulge in illicit activities, including drugs, stolen stuff, identity theft, and even fingerprints of the users, these crimes can get you in trouble.
Q. How much is the dark web market worth?
It is difficult to know the exact number of the worth of dark marketplace; however, an approximate number in 2022 was stated as $405.50 million.
Q. What is the most valuable data on the dark web?
Some of the most valuable data on the dark web found are passports, fake IDs, driver’s licenses, fake emails, credit and debit card data, mobile phone numbers, social media accounts, guns, drugs, crypto, and bank accounts, and also videos of pornography and child exploitation or any personal data.
Q. What did Genesis Market Place sell?
Genesis Market is the biggest place for selling data and personal information, of cards and ID in general, fake passports, fake driving licenses, drugs, and guns, and is said to be the leading market offering a lot more than other markets. And making it popular among individuals of different countries.
Q. What is Genesis Cyber?
Genesis Market was a go-to place for criminals seeking to commit fraud and victimize innocent people. Having hosted 80 million credentials and digital fingerprints stolen from more than two million people.
The Genesis Market was a large dark net marketplace; it had users from all around the world. Including the US, UK, Australia, and other countries. This marketplace was different than the other markets you have seen. When the FBI got active and successfully shut down one of the largest deep web markets websites with the help of several agencies and police from different countries. It made the internet safer than before for users.
It also took a lot of safety measures. However, the website has been seized, but some of the users are still active and committing crimes. And if somebody tries to log in to the website of the Genesis Market, the website has logos of different crime agencies and has a message stating that the FBI has seized the website.