Bulgarian among 24 arrested in international operation against ‘carding’ group

A Bulgarian was among 24 people arrested in a major international operation against a “carding” scheme, offences in which the internet is used to traffic in and exploit the stolen credit card, bank account, and other personal identification information of hundreds of thousands of victims globally, the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) said on June 26 2012.

The FBI said that it had prevented estimated potential economic losses of more than $205 million, notified credit card providers of more than 411 000 compromised credit and debit cards, and notified 47 companies, government entities, and educational institutions of the breach of their networks.

“Carding” refers to various criminal activities associated with stealing personal identification information and financial information belonging to other individuals—including the account information associated with credit cards, bank cards, debit cards, or other access devices—and using that information to obtain money, goods, or services without the victims’ authorisation or consent.

“Carding forums” are websites used by criminals engaged in carding (“carders”) to facilitate their criminal activity. Carders use carding forums to, among other things, exchange information related to carding, such as information concerning hacking methods or computer-security vulnerabilities that could be used to obtain personal identification information; and to buy and sell goods and services related to carding

“Today’s co-ordinated action—involving 13 countries, including the United States—resulted in 24 arrests, including the domestic arrests of 11 individuals by federal and local authorities in the United States, and the arrests of 13 individuals abroad by foreign law enforcement in seven countries,” the FBI said.

In addition, the federal and local authorities and authorities overseas conducted on June 26 more than 30 subject interviews and executed more than 30 search warrants.

“Today’s coordinated actions result from a two-year undercover operation led by the FBI that was designed to locate cybercriminals, investigate and expose them, and disrupt their activities.”

Eleven individuals were arrested on June 25 and 26 in the US.

A further 13 individuals were arrested on June 26 in seven other countries.

“Eleven of those individuals were arrested as a result of investigations commenced in foreign jurisdictions based in part on information arising out of the undercover operation and provided by the FBI to foreign law enforcement,” the FBI said.

Those 11 arrests occurred in the United Kingdom (six arrests), Bosnia (two), Bulgaria (one), Norway (one), and Germany (one).

“Two additional defendants were arrested today in foreign countries based on provisional arrest warrants obtained by theUnited Statesin connection with complaints unsealed today in the Southern District of New York,” the FBI said. Those two individuals include on arrested in Italy; and another who was arrested in Japan.

“Australia, Canada, Denmark, and Macedonia conducted interviews, executed search warrants, or took other co-ordinated action in connection with today’s takedown,” the FBI said.

Charges were also unsealed in the Southern District of New York against four additional defendants who remain at large, the bureau said.

Manhattan US Attorney Preet Bharara said, “As the cyber threat grows more international, the response must be increasingly global and forceful.

“The co-ordinated law enforcement actions taken by an unprecedented number of countries around the world today demonstrate that hackers and fraudsters cannot count on being able to prowl the internet in anonymity and with impunity, even across national boundaries. Clever computer criminals operating behind the supposed veil of the internet are still subject to the long arm of the law,” Bharara said.

The allegations unsealed on June 26 chronicle a breathtaking spectrum of cyber schemes and scams.

As described in the charging documents, individuals sold credit cards by the thousands and took the private information of untold numbers of people.

As alleged, the defendants casually offered every stripe of malware and virus to fellow fraudsters, even including software-enabling cyber voyeurs to hijack an unsuspecting consumer’s personal computer camera.

“To expose and prosecute individuals like the alleged cyber criminals charged today will continue to require exactly the kind of coordinated response and international cooperation that made today’s arrests possible.”

FBI Assistant Director in Charge Janice K. Fedarcyk said, “From New York to Norway and Japan to Australia, Operation Card Shop targeted sophisticated, highly organised cyber criminals involved in buying and selling stolen identities, exploited credit cards, counterfeit documents, and sophisticated hacking tools.

“Spanning four continents, the two-year undercover FBI investigation is the latest example of our commitment to rooting out rampant criminal behavior on the internet.

“Cyber crooks trade contraband and advance their schemes online with impunity, and they will only be stopped by law enforcement’s continued vigilance and cooperation. Today’s arrests cause significant disruption to the underground economy and are a stark reminder that masked IP addresses and private forums are no sanctuary for criminals and are not beyond the reach of the FBI.”

(Photo: Jakub Krechowicz/http://krechowicz.pl)



The Sofia Globe staff

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