Law enforcement operation takes down criminal marketplace Genesis

Operation Cookie Monster is the largest ever operation of its kind
Law enforcement operation takes down criminal marketplace Genesis
Criminal marketplace Genesis seized by FBI

Genesis Market, one of the world’s largest criminal marketplaces, which online fraudsters used to buy passwords, has been shut down as part of a global law enforcement crackdown.

The company sold login information, IP addresses, and other information that comprised victims’ “digital fingerprints.”

Personal information, which is frequently less than $1, allows fraudsters to log into bank and shopping accounts.

The FBI and the Justice Department led the operation with cooperation from an international consortium of law enforcement authorities from 17 countries, which executed hundreds of law enforcement operations. The Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) also announced sanctions against Genesis Market.

The effort, dubbed Operation Cookie Monster, is the largest ever operation of its kind, officials said.

Read more: Sanctions alone aren’t enough to rein in crypto crime

Globally, 200 searches were carried out and 120 people were arrested.

Genesis Market listed for sale the identities of over 2 million people when it was shut down.

Earlier this year, the Justice Department took action against crypto exchange Bitzlato, describing it as an alleged haven for criminal activity with overt links to a Russian dark web marketplace. Senior Justice Department and FBI officials described Operation Cookie Monster as a continuation of that work.

Approximately 460,000 packages of stolen private information were listed for sale on the marketplace as of Feb. 1, according to the Treasury.

Data sellers like Genesis aren’t necessarily the first thing you think of when it comes to cybercrime, but these sorts of ancillary service providers are crucial to enabling scamming, hacking, and ransomware attacks, according to a Chainalysis blog.

For that reason, we commend all of the agencies around the world who contributed to the shutdown of Genesis, noted the blockchain data analysis platform.

While Genesis’ OFAC designation doesn’t list any of the service’s cryptocurrency addresses, Chainalysis has identified hundreds of thousands of Genesis addresses, with more likely to come as our data improves over time. These addresses have already been labeled as belonging to a sanctioned entity in all products, and any Chainalysis KYT users with exposure prior to designation would have received alerts for its previous category — fraud shop — per their alert preferences.

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