Police say they’ve shut down a major underground internet forum that helped cybercriminals steal over $530 million from victims.
The Department of Justice on Wednesday announced the indictments of 36 suspects allegedly responsible for the black market Infraud forum, which sold stolen credit card details, malware, and information that could be used for identity theft, including Social Security numbers.
Five of those suspects have been arrested in the US. Another eight have been detained in other countries including Australia, Italy, and Serbia, and await extradition to the US. The rest remain at large.
US investigators called Infraud one of the largest cyberfraud enterprises they’d ever prosecuted. The underground forum, accessible on the dark web, had 10,901 registered members as of March 2017.
According to the indictment, a 34-year-old Ukrainian named Svyatoslav Bondarkeno started the site in 2010, with the goal of making it the premier destination for stolen credit card information. Through the forum, members posted “credit card dumps” and compromised PayPal account details, which were sold in exchange for virtual currencies like Bitcoin.
Bondarkeno’s whereabouts are unknown; he went missing in 2015, according to the indictment. After that, site co-founder Sergey Medvedev took over; Medvedev has since been apprehended.
US investigators estimate the site’s members intended to cause $2.2 billion worth of damage, but actual losses amounted to over $530 million.
During a conference call, US investigators declined to say whether the forum had been tied to any major data breaches, including the one at credit rating agency Equifax. But victims have included financial institutions and merchants including PayPal, along with private citizens across the world. Over the site’s 7-year history, it sold information relating to 4.3 million credit cards, debit cards, and bank accounts.
The DOJ said international law enforcement dismantled the forum, but the investigation into Infraud’s activities is ongoing. The US managed to “identify” the 10,000 members signed up with the forum, but it’s unclear to what extent.