Russia bans three darknet websites with over $250 million in crypto proceeds.

Russian authorities have cracked down on yet another batch of darknet websites targeting online marketplaces for stolen credit card information. Three marketplaces were shut down in the latest campaign, which together had generated $263 million in cryptocurrency proceeds. According to a report by U.K. blockchain analytics firm Elliptic, the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs took down three marketplaces—Trump’s Dumps, UAS Store, and Ferum Shop—as well as an online stolen card forum Sky-Fraud.

 

Darknet websites continue to remain a problem for authorities. 

Ferum Shop was the prime target of authorities, with Elliptic revealing that it was the biggest stolen credit card marketplace in the world before its seizure. The marketplaces cater to what is one of the oldest vices in the online criminal underground—carding. This is where hackers steal payment card details from hundreds of millions of victims through online retailers, banks, and other avenues. They then sell them on dark web marketplaces where the customers use them to purchase expensive items or gift cards, which they sell for cash. 

 

The crackdown comes just weeks since the Russian Federal Security Service busted REvil.

Sky-Fraud wasn’t a marketplace but was a forum where the hackers and their clients communicated and shared money laundering tips, authorities said. When Russian authorities seized the site, they left an emoji in the source code, which translated to, “Which one of you is next?” The message was similar to that left on UniCC, which was at the time of its seizure the largest carding marketplace in the world and had made $372 million in digital currencies. The latest crackdown has come just weeks since the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) busted REvil, one of the world’s most destructive ransomware gangs.