The US Justice Department has indicted 36 people accused of forming part of a global cybercrime network specialised in the exchange and purchase of personal data, compromised bank cards and stolen identities. The financial damage caused by the network is estimated at 530 million dollars.
Suspects have been arrested in the United States, Australia, the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Kosovo and Serbia, on charges of racketeering and conspiracy among other crimes, the Justice Department said in a statement on Wednesday. According to the indictment the Infraud network was set up in October 2010 by Svyatoslav Bondarenko aka “Obnon”, “Rector”, or “Helkern,” aged 34, from Ukraine, with the aim of creating the premier destination for carding—purchasing retail items with counterfeit or stolen credit card information—on the Internet.
“As alleged in the indictment, Infraud operated like a business to facilitate cyberfraud on a global scale. Its members allegedly caused more than $530 million in actual losses to consumers, businesses, and financial institutions alike—and it is alleged that the losses they intended to cause amounted to more than $2.2 billion.”
At seven years, the longevity of Infraud’s existence on the dark web has been put down to its servers being based beyond the reach of US law enforcement, probably in Russia, says EJ Hilbert a former FBI cybercrime agent and now a vice president of cybersecurity at security firm Gavin DeBecker and Associates. By contrast, other infamous darknet forums like the Silk Road and AlphaBay lasted only around three years before being broken up.
The sale of contraband belonging to Russian victims was also banned by the forum’s Ukrainian founder, Svyatoslav Bondarenko, in a move designed to dissuade Russian police from cracking down on the site.