Six Britons have been arrested for their role in an international global cyber crime ring that specialised in trafficking stolen credit card information.
Twenty-four people have been arrested globally, including 11 in the US, two in Bosnia, one each in Bulgaria, Norway and Germany and two in Italy and Japan. The FBI announced yesterday that one of the Americans is Mir Islam, who uses the alias ‘JoshTheGod', and is purported to be the leader of the UGNazi hacking group.
The FBI has said that this is the largest coordinated international law enforcement action in history directed at ‘carding' crimes, offences in which the internet is used to traffic and exploit stolen credit cards, bank accounts and other personal identification information of hundreds of thousands of victims globally.
The two-year FBI operation involved establishing an undercover carding forum called ‘Carder Profit' that enabled users to discuss various topics related to carding and to communicate offers to buy, sell and exchange goods and services related to carding. This site enabled the FBI to identify cyber criminals and investigate their activities.
The site was also configured to allow the FBI to monitor and record the discussion threads posted to the site, collect user's contact details and store private messages sent through the site between registered users while recording the users' IP addresses.
It also imposed restrictions to site membership from time to time to individuals with established knowledge of carding techniques or interest in criminal activity. For example, some new users were prevented from joining the site unless they were recommended by two existing users who had registered with the site or unless they paid a registration fee. The site was taken offline in May 2012.
Prosecutors said that Mir Islam was also the founder of Carders.org, an online carding forum similar to the sting site. Authorities picked up Islam on Monday night in Manhattan when he met an undercover FBI agent, whom he believed was a fellow ‘carder' - to collect cloned credit cards containing stolen information. Islam was arrested when he tried to use one of the cards to withdraw cash.
Preet Bharara, Manhattan US Attorney, said: “The allegations unsealed today chronicle a breathtaking spectrum of cyber schemes and scams. Individuals sold credit cards by the thousands and took the private information of untold numbers of people.
“As alleged, the defendants casually offered every strip of malware and virus to fellow fraudsters, even including software-enabling cyber voyeurs to hijack an unsuspecting consumer's personal computer camera. To expose and prosecute individuals like the alleged cyber criminals charged today will continue to require exactly the kind of coordinated response and international cooperation that made today's arrests possible.”