“Operation Cookie Monster” seizes black web market

"Operation Cookie Monster" seizes black web market
Image: Reuters

The National Crime Agency (NCA) of the United Kingdom said on Wednesday that a worldwide operation dubbed “Operation Cookie Monster” had resulted in the seizure of a large dark web marketplace frequented by hackers.

The FBI put a banner on Genesis Market’s website on Tuesday night indicating that the agency had seized the company’s domains.

In addition to the Qintel emblem, other European, Canadian, and Australian police force logos were prominently featured on the website.

Rob Jones, the NCA’s Director General of Threat Leadership, said, “We estimate that the Genesis is one of the world’s most important access marketplaces.”

According to the NCA, more than two million clients’ credentials and digital fingerprints were stolen from the service.

According to a statement issued by U.S. Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco, many members of the website were arrested on Tuesday.

A high-ranking FBI official acknowledged that arrests were made in the United States, but declined to provide any information. The Genesis mission continues.

In a statement imposing sanctions on the market, the United States Treasury Department referred to the market as “one of the most infamous sellers of stolen credentials and other sensitive information.”

According to British authorities, the FBI and the Netherlands National Police led the operation, which resulted in over 120 arrests, over 200 searches, and almost 100 instances of “preventative action.”

According to the U.S. Treasury, Genesis Market’s administrators are thought to be headquartered in Russia.

According to Louise Ferrett, an analyst at the British cybersecurity firm Searchlight Cyber, Genesis specialized in selling digital assets, including “browser fingerprints” obtained from computers infected with malicious software.

Criminals may circumvent anti-fraud methods such as multi-factor authentication or device fingerprinting by using fingerprints, which include sensitive information such as passwords, cookies, IP addresses, and browser or operating system data. The website originally went up in 2018.

According to the NCA, the business strategy of Genesis consisted on selling stolen credentials for 70 cents to hundreds of dollars, depending on the amount and quality of the material on sale.

According to NCA Head of Cyber Intelligence Will Lyne, “to get up and running on this, you simply need to be aware of the site and perhaps be able to gain an invite, which, given the number of users, wouldn’t be all that difficult. Once a member, it is quite easy to thereafter engage in unlawful actions.

The NCA listed as participants in the investigation Australia, Canada, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, Iceland, Italy, New Zealand, Poland, Romania, Spain, and Switzerland.

John Fokker, chief of threat intelligence at U.S. cybersecurity firm Trellix, said, “The Genesis Market lowered the cost to entry for ransomware businesses, allowing countless hackers to rapidly expand their operations and conduct targeted attacks for quick financial profit.”

Even if all of Genesis Market’s members were imprisoned, the elimination of this enormous online black market for criminals would significantly decrease online crime.

About News Team

Hi, I'm Alex Perez, an experienced writer with a focus on lifestyle and culture news. From food and fashion to travel and entertainment, I love exploring the latest trends and sharing my insights with readers. I also have a strong interest in world news and business, and enjoy covering breaking stories and events.

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