FBI poses as hackers to arrest 24 fraudsters
Posted on 27 Jun 2012 at 09:23
US law enforcement officials arrested 24 suspected hackers in a sting operation spanning four continents that targeted online financial fraud of stolen credit card and bank information.
In a two-year investigation, FBI agents posed as hackers on online forums, watching as other hackers swapped methods for breaching data security walls and creating fake credit cards that would work for internet and in-person purchases.
The probe prevented $205 million in possible losses on over 411,000 compromised consumer credit and debit cards, US authorities in New York said.
Clever computer criminals operating behind the supposed veil of the internet are still subject to the long arm of the law
Six people were arrested in the UK and 11 were arrested in the United States, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Manhattan US Attorney's office said.
"Clever computer criminals operating behind the supposed veil of the internet are still subject to the long arm of the law," Manhattan US Attorney Preet Bharara said.
During the operation, the FBI said, it not only monitored the hackers' activities but also contacted "multiple" people and institutions hit by the hackers and showed them how to repair their security breaches and protect themselves in the future.
No credit card companies or banks were named in the court documents.
The 24 people arrested were all men aged 18 to 25. Some face up to 40 years or more in prison if convicted on conspiracy to commit wire fraud charges and access device fraud charges.
The FBI operation centered around a "carding forum" that it had secretly created in June 2010, and was in charge of running unbeknownst to its participants, authorities said.
The forum, called "Carder Profit," was essentially an online market for registered users to exchange stolen account numbers. It was shut down in May.
Two people were arrested in the New York area and were later released on bail after appearing in Manhattan federal court.
One of the men, Mir Islam, known online as "JoshTheGod," was charged with trafficking in 50,000 stolen credit card numbers. Authorities said Islam had admitted to helping emerging hacker outfit UgNazi, which claimed responsibility for a Twitter outage last week - which the site denies.
Fellow Bronx resident Joshua Hicks, 19, also known as "OxideDox," was charged with one count of access device fraud.
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