‘Cookie Monster’ Operation Destroys World’s Biggest Dark Web Marketplace

The Federal Bureau of Investigation led a worldwide crackdown that destroyed “Genesis Market,” the world’s biggest online black market for stolen information, in what was dubbed “Operation Cookie Monster.”

80 Million User Credentials on Sale

Law enforcement agencies from dozens of nations led by the FBI have taken down and seized “Genesis Market,” a huge dark web marketplace popular with cybercriminals, the Daily Mail reported.

The hackers’ market offered stolen login information for banks, Amazon, Paypal, Facebook, Netflix, and more. Individual passwords were on sale for as little as a dollar each, FBI officials have revealed.

The agency made it clear the Genesis Market offered over 80 million units of login information lifted from over 1.5 million compromised computers worldwide.

The hackers were even selling digital fingerprints, allowing evil-minded individuals to pass online security checks on the victims’ devices.

Law enforcement officials said there were over 200 searchers in different countries around the world. Some 120 people were arrested, including in the United States.

There were a total of 24 arrests in the town of Grimsby, Northwest England. No details about the US detentions have been disclosed. As a result of the cybercrime marketplace offers, victims incurred losses worth tens of millions of US dollars.

Services for Cybercriminals

An FBI official told the paper that users of the black dark web market took advantage of stolen credentials to commit a wide range of additional scams. Those include large-scale hacking attacks on companies and other entities, as well as identity theft against individuals.

The FBI official stressed the hackers’ marketplaces provide services that in turn “facilitate cybercrime globally.”

A statement by the US Treasury Department said Genesis was one of the biggest “illicit marketplaces” in the world. It slapped “full blocking sanctions” against its website.

FBI’s chief Christopher Wray issued a statement touting the FBI’s abilities to destroy key cybercrime services. US Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco made it clear the investigation into the Genesis Market remained ongoing.

The crackdown on Genesis follows US-led operations against other dark web marketplaces over the past year, such as BreachForums and Hydra Market.

This article appeared in The State Today and has been published here with permission.