[ISN] Secret Service busts online organized crime ring

InfoSec News isn at c4i.org
Fri Oct 29 04:31:38 EDT 2004


By Dan Verton 
OCTOBER 28, 2004 

In what it called an "Information Age undercover investigation," the
U.S. Secret Service today announced that it has arrested 28 people
from eight U.S. states and six countries allegedly involved in a
global organized cybercrime ring.

Charges filed against the suspects include identity theft, computer
fraud, credit card fraud and conspiracy.

The investigation, code-named Operation Firewall, resulted in what the
Secret Service described as a significant disruption of organized
criminal activity online that was targeting the financial
infrastructure of the U.S. The suspects are alleged to have
collectively trafficked in at least 1.7 million stolen credit card

Financial institutions have estimated their losses associated with the
suspects targeted by the investigation to be more than $4.3 million.

"Led by the Secret Service Newark Field Office, investigators from
nearly 30 domestic and foreign Secret Service offices and their global
law enforcement counterparts have prevented potentially hundreds of
millions of dollars in loss to the financial and hi-tech communities,"  
Secret Service Director W. Ralph Basham said in a statement. "These
suspects targeted the personal and financial information of ordinary
citizens, as well as the confidential and proprietary information of
companies engaged in e-commerce."

Operation Firewall began in July 2003 and quickly evolved into a
transnational investigation of global credit card fraud and online
identity theft. The underground criminal groups have been identified
as Shadowcrew, Carderplanet and Darkprofits. The organizations
operated Web sites used to traffic counterfeit credit cards and false
identification information and documents. The groups allegedly used
the sites to share information on how to commit fraud and sold the
stolen information and the tools needed to commit such crimes.

International law enforcement organizations that took part in the
investigation and arrests included the U.K.'s National Hi-Tech Crimes
Unit, the Vancouver Police Department's Financial Crimes Section, the
Royal Canadian Mounted Police and Europol.

Officials in Bulgaria, Belarus, Poland, Sweden, the Netherlands and
Ukraine also were involved.

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