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International Coalition Takes Down Hacking Marketplace

An international coalition of law enforcement agencies took down one of the most user-friendly digital marketplaces for hacked data — responsible for accessing some 80 million user credentials in the past five years, reports the Washington Post. On Tuesday, U.S. law enforcement, collaborating with agencies from more than a dozen countries, seized 11 domain names belonging to the marketplace. Would-be users of at least one of the sites were greeted by a notice that said the seizure had been ordered by a federal court in Wisconsin. It provided a link to a website that helps consumers determine whether their data had been trafficked on the site. U.S. officials said Genesis offered a menu of online access to information, including ongoing updates of hacked data, as well as information needed for ransomware attacks. “Our seizure of Genesis Market should serve as a warning to cybercriminals who operate or use these criminal marketplaces: the Justice Department and our international partners will shut down your illegal activities, find you, and bring you to justice,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said.


Officials suspect that Genesis operated out of Russia, the Treasury Department said, noting that it had a presence on the dark web, a corner of the internet where users can operate anonymously. As of February, Genesis listed about 460,000 packages of stolen information, including passwords to email accounts, video streaming and social media accounts. The marketplace offered programs that continued to update users’ personal information as it changed on their devices, amounting to a “de facto subscription to the victim’s information,” the cybersecurity firm Sophos wrote. The Sophos report characterized Genesis’s interface as “slick” and its services as “polished,” with a platform that offered multilingual tech support, easily searchable data and a user dashboard that provided updates on which compromised systems had been changed since their last visit. Since it launched in 2018, Genesis Market has offered access to data stolen from more than 1.5 million computers worldwide and containing over 80 million account access credentials.

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