According to a recently posted press release by the U.S Department of Justice, the FBI has arrested 24 cybercriminals part of an international law enforcement operation aiming to arrest and prosecute the users of a sting operation called "Carder Profit" (CarderProfit.cc).
The carding community known as "Carder Profit" was originally established by the FBI in June 2010 as an attempt to infiltrate the cyber underground, collect intelligence on the vendors and buyers, attempt to physically identify them, and prevent millions in potential financial losses.
The web site even operated with OPSEC (operational security) in mind, in an attempt to increase its perceived sophistication among the cybercrime community, namely it required multiple recommendations from already registered users in order to register a new account.
- If you want to know everything you ever wanted to know about the carding market and more, consider going through the "Exposing the Market for Stolen Credit Cards Data" research published in October, 2011
Access to the web site was taken offline in May, 2012 with the idea to analyze the already gathered data. According to the press release, the operation prevented estimated potential economic losses of more than $205 million, and led to the notification of credit card providers on the stolen 411,000 credit and debit cards.
Names of the arrested cybercriminals:
- MICHAEL HOGUE - xVisceral
- JARAND MOEN ROMTVEIT - zer0
- MIR ISLAM - JoshTheGod
- STEVEN HANSEN - theboner1
- ALI HASSAN - Badoo
- JOSHUA HICKS - OxideDox
- MARK CAPARELLI - Cubby
- SETH HARPER - Kabraxis314
- CHRISTIAN CANGEOPO - 404myth
Geographical distribution of the arrests: United Kingdom (6 arrests), Bosnia (2), Bulgaria (1), Norway (1), and Germany (1)
Yet another cybercrime-friendly community was targeted in the operation, although the press release is not discussing the matter. The community in question, Fraud.su, which currently returns an index page placed there by U.S law enforcement agencies.
The operation appears to be widespread, as the web site of the UGNazi group (UGNAZI.com) is also defaced by U.S law enforcement agencies.
What's particularly interesting is that, compared to the DarkMarket operation, a spokesman for the U.S Attorney's office insists that the "Carder Profit" FBI carding forum was not a sting operation because the agents did not initiate the criminal activity. However, that's not the case for the DarkMarket operation, where agent Keith Mularski, known as "Master Splynter" at the time, engaged in cybercrime-facilitating actions in order to remain a trusted member of the community.