Takedown of one of the “biggest” hacker platforms

Tearing down one of the “biggest” hacker platforms


One of the world's largest hacker platforms, which sold millions of stolen account credentials, has been shut down in a massive international operation.

< p>Genesis Market has sold the identities of more than two million people for as little as $0.70 (0.64 euros), allowing hackers to target bank accounts and commit online fraud, the authorities said. authorities in several countries.

This global crackdown resulted in 119 arrests and involved more than 17 countries, Europol said in a statement from its headquarters in The Hague on Wednesday.

208 properties were searched during this “unprecedented” operation carried out by the FBI and the Dutch police and which began in 2019, underlined Europol.

The site was based in Russia, according to the American Treasury, which declared to have imposed Penalties to Genesis Market.

“Genesis Market had put the identities of more than two million people up for sale at the time of its closure,” the European police office pointed out.

Actions against criminals also took place in countries including Australia, Canada, the United States and more than 10 countries in Europe.

24 arrests have been made in the UK, according to the UK Crime Agency , and 17 in the Netherlands, said the Dutch police.

“Cookie Monster”

People trying to access the platform on Wednesday landed on a screen that read 'This website has been seized' and ''Operation Cookie Monster'', as well as a photo of a person wearing an FBI hoodie seated in front of a computer.

“Cookie Monster”, is the English name of “Macaroon the glutton” who stuffs himself with cookies in the series “1 Sesame Street”. In computing, a cookie is data that facilitates the reopening of web pages.

The platform offered “bots” for sale that infected victims' devices through malware and other methods, Europol said.

Their prices could range up to several hundred dollars in the case of valuable bank account information, Europol said.

“At the time of purchasing such a 'bot', criminals had access to all the data collected by it, such as fingerprints, cookies, saved logins and auto-fill form data,” the office said.

The information was obtained in real time so that buyers were informed of any password changes.

'More dangerous'

Unlike dark web services, Genesis was easily accessible on the web, but protected itself from law enforcement by being accessible 'by invitation only', Europol said.

“Its accessibility and affordability have significantly lowered the entry threshold for buyers, making it a popular resource among pirates,” the office added.

The Criminal Market of Genesis was until its closure on Tuesday “one of the most dangerous”, according to Ruben van Well, the head of the cybernetic team of the Dutch police, explaining that it notably allowed to make online orders in the name of victims.

A 71-year-old man, for example, lost nearly 70,000 euros in his investment account, with items ordered from online shops in his name, he said.

In some cases, it was even possible to “loot entire bank, crypto or investment accounts,” van Well noted.