Overnight, New Zealand police joined a simultaneous enforcement action as agencies in multiple countries targeted illegal online marketplaces selling stolen digital identities.
The operation, led by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Dutch National Police and coordinated from Europol, sees the removal of the Genesis Market.
The website provided online credentials for victims whose devices were infected with malware or account takeover attacks.
Criminals can access information such as cookies, saved login information, and form autofill data after making purchases through your site. Offerings varied in size, with the high end including access to online bank accounts.
By the end of the operation, it had sold the IDs of over 2 million people worldwide.
Investigator Stuart Mills says the New Zealand phase of the operation began early Wednesday morning (NZST) in central Auckland.
“Investigative staff from the City of Oakland’s Financial Crimes Division and national cybercrime divisions, assisted by other professional staff, have terminated a search warrant at an address,” Mills said.
“A 30-year-old man at the address was arrested and a further search was conducted.”
Police will claim the man bought dozens of stolen credentials from the Genesis Market, Mills said. Investigations are ongoing to find out what happened.
The man faces multiple charges of accessing a computer for unauthorized purposes and is being considered for additional charges.
“Cybercrime, especially cyber-based fraud, continues to be a global problem for law enforcement agencies, causing significant damage and distress to victims,” said Mills.
“This is a significant global operation, with numerous law enforcement agencies around the world participating in the demolition of this illegal market.
“New Zealand Police continue to target organized criminal activities like this and continue to work very closely with our international partners to prevent the serious harm they cause.”
Genesis Market is made possible by sophisticated malware used to infect victims’ computers and collect personal data. This information was hidden behind invite-only access, but is now accessible on the open web.
“Purchasing information from the Genesis Market allows users to emulate victims’ online accounts to carry out further fraudulent activities,” said Detective Mills.
• How can I keep myself safe?
Criminals are always looking for new ways to target innocent victims, so it’s more important than ever to stay vigilant while using electronic devices.
• Stay alert to unexpected emails and suspicious links in emails or text messages.
• When browsing the Internet, do not click on questionable links or pop-up boxes.
• Only download official versions of software from trusted websites
• Use unique passwords for each website or service
• Use antivirus software on your device and make sure it is kept up to date
• If the website or service offers multi-factor authentication, use it whenever possible
Above all, remember that if the financial or professional opportunity presented to you in any way seems too good, it probably is.
Jared Williamson/NZ Police
https://www.police.govt.nz/news/release/nz-police-join-worldwide-enforcement-action-against-hackers%E2%80%99-marketplace NZ police join global enforcement action against hackers’ markets