FBI Seizes Massive I.D. Theft Cybercrime Forum

April 5, 2023

The FBI and international law enforcement agencies jointly announced Wednesday that they had arrested more than 100 people related to a large-scale identity theft forum.

Pursuant to a court order, the FBI seized web domains of the dark net site Genesis Market, which sold stolen data containing login credentials for bank accounts, social media passwords and IP addresses. Genesis Market then sold those “digital fingerprints” along with committing ransomware, authorities said.

The crackdown was dubbed “Operation Cookie Monster,” referring to the identifying data collected on individual computers known as “cookies.” In all, law enforcement from 15 countries, including several in the European Union as well as the United Kingdom and Australia, were involved in the operation. 

The seizure comes as international law enforcement is increasingly focusing on coordinated cybercrime arrests across multiple continents.  

In January, 2022 the FBI and Europol, the European Union’s law enforcement agency, seized computer servers after identifying “more than 100 businesses” that were at risk of being hacked by cybercriminals.

This past month, the Biden Administration unveiled a new cybersecurity strategy that urges tighter regulation of existing practices and stronger collaboration between the government and private sector.

According to the FBI, cybercrime cost the U.S. $6.9 billion in the year 2021, following nearly 850,000 complaints, a 7% increase over 2020.

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