FBI Coordinates Global Effort to Nab 'Dark Market' Cyber Criminals


Joint Two-Year Undercover Operation Results in 56 arrests; $70 million in Economic Loss Prevention

(Oct 16, 2008) - The FBI, in conjunction with many partners in international law enforcement, today announced the conclusion of a two-year undercover operation targeting members of the online “carding” forum known as Dark Market.

Cyber criminals using this forum represented a virtual transnational criminal network spanning numerous countries who were involved with the buying and selling of stolen financial information including credit card data, login credentials (user names and passwords), as well as equipment used in carrying out certain financial crimes. At its peak the Dark Market website had over 2,500 registered members.

A primary objective of this operation was to infiltrate the forum, develop intelligence on its leading members, and in coordination with our U.S. and international law enforcement partners, systematically identify, locate, and arrest them over a sustained period. This operation resulted in 56 arrests worldwide. Additionally, $70 million in economic loss was prevented from the seizure of compromised victim accounts. Separate from these successes, this operation created new leads and more investigative information to pursue. These efforts are being followed up by the FBI and international law enforcement partners.

FBI Cyber Division Assistant Director Shawn Henry said, "In today's world of rapidly expanding technology, where cyber crimes are perpetrated instantly from anywhere in the world, law enforcement needs to be flexible and creative in our efforts to target these criminals. Leads in many of these investigations take us to the online world of Internet forums, where criminals go to engage in the business of selling and trading innocent person’s credit card numbers and other personal information. By joining forces with our international law enforcement counterparts, we have been, and will continue to be, successful in arresting those individuals and dismantling these forums. The arrests this week in the U.K. are a good demonstration of the coordination taking place today between the FBI, the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA), and other law enforcement agencies around the globe."

The FBI conducted this operation with the assistance of multiple domestic and international law enforcement partners, including the Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section of the U.S. Department of Justice, United Kingdom’s Serious Organised Crime Agency, Turkish National Police – KOM Department, Bundeskriminalamt (German Federal Criminal Police in Wiesbaden), and the Landeskriminalamt Baden – Wuerrtemberg (State Police of Baden Wuerrtemberg).