Russian authorities completed a law enforcement operation that led to the shutdown of four dark web platforms specializing in the theft and sale of stolen credit cards.
The latest development comes hot in the heels of recent government commitment to flush out cybercriminals operating in its territory, which started with a highly-contested decision to block Tor access on December 8, 2021.
The recent change in attitude by the Russian government to crack down on dark web crime may be seen as an obvious reaction to past high level accusations that Russia was being lenient to threat groups, often turning a blind eye to cyberattacks that do not affect its national interests.
As such, the domains that were seized and closed by the authorities include those belonging to the following card fraud platforms and markets: Ferum Shop, Sky-Fraud, Trump’s Dumps and UAS.
Apart from shutting down the sites, Russian law enforcement planted a banner on the landing pages of the seized sites with a message that read “theft of funds from bank cards is illegal.” An additional message was added to the HTML code with a text posing, “Which one of you is next?”
According to a report by Flashpoint, the platform shutdowns were carried out by the Department “K”, which turns out to be a division within Russia’s Ministry of Internal Affairs that works to stamp out IT-related criminal activities.
Additional reports indicate that six Russian national have effectively been charged with “the illicit circulation of means of payment” as part of the law enforcement operation that has shaken the carding community to its core.
Third Russian Anti-Dark Web Operation
The latest law enforcement operation adds to a short list of cases where Russian authorities acted decisively against cybercriminal groups operating within its territory.
Recent memory points to the case involving the arrest of 14 cybercriminal gang members belonging to the REvil ransomware group that had been blamed for a number of notable cybercriminal attacks.
Another law enforcement operation, in January 25, 2022, led to the arrest of a man accused to be the mastermind of the now-defunct Infraud Organization. That added to the list of recent dark web closures including the retirement of UniCC, which was considered to be a major blow to the dark web carding industry since the collapse of Joker’s Stash in early 2021.