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FBI Shuts Down Notorious Hacker Marketplace

The FBI and Dutch National Police on Wednesday shut down Genesis Market, a cybercrime forum that facilitated large-scale identity theft, in an international law enforcement raid that involved the work of 45 FBI field offices and law enforcement partners in numerous countries, officials said Tuesday.

Known as “Operation Cookie Monster,” the operation involved 17 countries and resulted in 119 arrests.

The site advertised and sold packages of “account access credentials — such as usernames and passwords for email, bank accounts, and social media —  that had been stolen from malware-infected computers around the world,” the Justice Department said.

Genesis Market reportedly had about 59,000 registered users and offered access to data stolen from over 1.5 million compromised computers around the world containing over 80 million account access credentials.

“Working across 45 of our FBI Field Offices and alongside our international partners, the Justice Department has launched an unprecedented takedown of a major criminal marketplace that enabled cybercriminals to victimize individuals, businesses, and governments around the world,” said Attorney General Merrick Garland. “Our seizure of Genesis Market should serve as a warning to cybercriminals who operate or use these criminal marketplaces: the Justice Department and our international partners will shut down your illegal activities, find you, and bring you to justice.”

Upon purchasing a bot from Genesis Market, “criminals would get access to all the data harvested by it such as fingerprints, cookies, saved logins, and autofill form data,” Europol said. The cheapest bots sold for less than a dollar, but others were sold for hundreds of dollars and would contain financial information that allowed access to online banking accounts. 

The stolen data included passwords for Facebook, Amazon, PayPal, and Netflix, as well as digital fingerprints. 

U.S.-led enforcement agencies in the past year have also taken down other darknet hacker marketplaces, including Hydra Market and BreachForums.

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