CSID’s CyberAgent technology scans more than 10,000 underground websites and forums per day—more than 600,000 individual web pages—for personal identifying information (PII) being bought and sold. This PII includes bits like Social Security Numbers, email addresses, passwords and credit and debit card numbers. In fact, the credit and debit card numbers often come with the expiration dates, associated names and addresses, and a validity check.
We often get asked, “Why don’t the authorities do anything about it?”
The answer? Yes, they do—but it is a long and intensive process that strategically evades the public eye. News broke recently that the FBI coordinated with law enforcement agencies around the world for a two-year undercover operation to crack down on online trafficking of stolen financial data and credit card information. According to an official statement by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, this global operation was the largest coordinated international enforcement action against online “carding” gangs. As Fahmida Rashid wrote in PC Mag, “Online carding groups act as a marketplace where criminals can buy or sell stolen credit card and other financial information.”
To target the groups, the FBI sold stolen data and hacking tools through their own carding site, Carder Profit. Through this site they were able to monitor and record all activities, including visitors’ IP addresses and registrants’ email addresses.
The two-year collaboration among the FBI and law enforcement agencies from 13 other countries ultimately lead to the arrest of 24 people who had been trafficking stolen credit card and financial details. According to the FBI, the operation prevented more than $205 million in losses and notified credit card providers of more than 411,000 compromised cards.
These efforts from the FBI and law enforcement agencies show us just how serious an issue cyber crime and identity theft is. While it is great to have major agencies like the FBI watching out for us, we must still remember to be diligent in protecting and monitoring our identity online – you never know who might be waiting to steal your information.