Amid a growing wave of cryptocurrency seizures and government crackdowns on cybercrime, Russian authorities have destroyed swathes of the illicit credit card market as the country seeks to bolster legal crypto adoption. -mint, shutting down four sites this week that together have attracted hundreds of millions of dollars from the sale of stolen credit cards, according to cybersecurity firm Elliptic.
Four illicit websites seized by the Russian Interior Ministry on Monday generated more than $263 million in cryptocurrency revenue from the sale of stolen credit cards, which is about a fifth of the global illicit card market , according to an Elliptic analysis published Wednesday.
Among the sites taken down, Ferum Shop was the world’s largest marketplace for stolen credit cards, grossing around $256 million in bitcoin since its launch in 2013, according to Elliptic, while Trump’s Dumps marketplace, which infamously used the likeness of former President Donald Trump to help sell the raw data from the magnetic stripes of stolen cards, has grossed an estimated $4.1 million since 2017.
Notices posted on both websites on Wednesday morning warned users that the platforms had been seized by police and were awaiting criminal investigations, while at another seized market, dubbed SkyFraud, Russian authorities let an emoji-laden message buried in the sites source code teasing, “Which one of you is next?”
Investigators on Monday asked a Moscow court to arrest six members of an anonymous hacking group for allegedly circulating illegal ‘means of payment’, according to Russian news agency Tass, but it remains unclear if the suspects are directly linked to the dark web. credit card websites.
The seizures come less than a month after Russian authorities seized the largest illicit credit card dealer at the time, UniCC, which facilitated some $358 million in transactions over nine years.
Closures and seizures of card sites this year have already accounted for almost 50% of dark web market sales for stolen credit cards, according to Elliptic, part of a broader slowdown in illicit activity. of the Dark Web, as tightening cryptocurrency regulations make it more difficult to launder funds.
Earlier this week, the Russian government said it had reached an agreement with its central bank to draft legislation recognizing cryptocurrency as a form of currency by February 18, largely in a bid to fight against cybercrime. According to a draft document, the move would require users to submit to identity checks by the country’s banking system or approved intermediaries and would make it a criminal offense to transact cryptocurrencies without the checks. “Establishing rules for the circulation of cryptocurrencies and control measures will minimize the threat to the stability of the financial system and reduce the use of cryptocurrencies for illegal purposes,” the lawmakers said, lamenting that a complete ban on cryptocurrencies is “impossible”. “
$214 billion. That’s roughly the value of the Russian crypto market, which accounts for around 12% of the total value of global cryptocurrencies, according to UK broker GlobalBlock.
Amid simmering tensions with Russia over state-sanctioned cybercrime, President Joe Biden is expected to issue an executive order that will direct federal agencies to regulate cryptocurrencies as part of national security starting this month- this.
Russia is not alone in fighting cybercrime. US authorities arrested a New York couple on Tuesday for allegedly conspiring to launder $4.5 billion worth of bitcoins stolen in a 2016 hack of cryptocurrency exchange Bitfinex, including $3.6 billion of dollars that federal authorities have recovered in what the Justice Department calls the largest financial seizure ever. According to court documents, Ilya Lichtenstein, 34, and his wife, Heather Morgan, 31, conspired to launder the proceeds of 119,754 bitcoins using “numerous sophisticated laundering techniques,” including using false identities to create online accounts and operating a computer. programs to automate transactions.
Editor’s note: Heather Morgan, although never employed by Forbes, was a ForbesWomen contributor from July 2017 until Forbes ended the relationship in September 2021.
Feds Seize $3.6 Billion in Stolen Bitcoin, Arrest Couple Five Years After Massive Crypto Exchange Hack (Forbes)
The Internet’s Largest Marketplace for Stolen Credit Cards Will Shut Down (Forbes)