World's biggest online 'fraudster’s paradise' shut down in international sting - but millions of people’s details stolen

5 April 2023, 13:08 | Updated: 5 April 2023, 16:40

Tens of thousands of British victims have been targeted
Tens of thousands of British victims have been targeted. Picture: NCA
Fraser Knight.

By Fraser Knight.

One of the world’s biggest online shops where fraudsters trade stolen personal information has been shut down after a massive international sting operation.

FBI and Dutch police with law enforcement from 18 countries including the UK’s National Crime Agency took the ‘Genesis Market’ offline last night.

The site was replaced by an FBI logo reading: “This website has been seized.”

The site had 80 million sets of personal data for sale, affecting two million victims.

People who fear their details might have been put on sale on the site can go here to check

120 arrests have been made as part of the global investigation
120 arrests have been made as part of the global investigation. Picture: NCA

The data available included online banking details, Facebook accounts, Amazon, Paypal and Netflix account information - as well as so-called ‘digital fingerprints’ that allowed criminals to bypass online security checks by pretending to be the victim.

120 arrests have been made as part of the global investigation – 24 of them so far in the UK.

Notorious criminal marketplace selling victim identities taken down in international operation

READ MORE: Trans women face being banned from single-sex spaces under plan to make legal definition of sex 'biological'

The site was selling the credentials, sometimes for as little as 56p, with tens of thousands of victims in the UK.

Other account details for sale are Twitter, Amazon and AirBnB profiles, as well as email and banking accounts.

Prices would range depending on the size of a digital fingerprint they could provide.

READ MORE: Melania missing in action: Donald Trump’s wife raises eyebrows with absence as ex-president condemns US justice

24 people in the UK have been arrested by the National Crime Agency, as part of multinational joint operation.

Robert Jones from the National Crime Agency (NCA) told LBC: “We know that most of the users behind this will have used the information they bought for fraudulent activity; to steal money, goods and services.

READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon's husband Peter Murrell arrested by detectives investigating SNP finances

Genesis was seized by the FBI on Tuesday.
Genesis was seized by the FBI on Tuesday. Picture: Alamy

“There’s a very low barrier to access cyber crime at the moment and we’re trying to raise that. Through an open web search you were able to access this website which had a wiki and a step by step guide on how to commit fraud.

“Behind every cyber criminal or fraudster is the technical infrastructure that provides them with the tools to execute their attacks. Genesis Market was one of the most significant platforms on the criminal market. Its removal will be a huge blow to criminals across the globe.”

The NCA says hundreds of people in the UK were using the site, which traded in BitCoin.

It was an invite-only site, asking for an $80 payment up front which was deposited into their account to buy credentials.

But amazingly, as well as existing on the dark web, Genesis Marketplace was also readily available on the surface net - it was the third suggestion on Google when searched before the site was shut down.

The NCA says it’s concerned Genesis may have been used as a gateway into more serious fraud, with the giving step-by-step instructions on how to make use of the information for sale.

It would allow users to masquerade as someone else to buy items from online retailers, get into school and work computer systems and transfer money from bank accounts.

David Horn, who is a cyber security expert and director at CyberWhite digital security consultants in Sunderland, told LBC: “It could be Facebook, Twitter, your bank account, Amazon, even Netflix. And once they’ve got that information they can do anything with it.

“In isolation if you’re losing $20 here or £50 there maybe it isn’t such a big deal but it really is because that money is going into a funnel to fund organised crime and terrorism activities, so we need to be diligent.”

The National Crime Agency says investigations are still continuing as they target more users of Genesis alongside its owners.

As part of that, they say more people in the UK will be arrested and urged anyone who has bought credentials not to use them, if they want to avoid a harsh punishment.

Robert Jones said: “For years they’ve been working with the credentials of victims who don’t know they’ve been compromised. But they don’t know anymore if we’ve got their credentials.

“If you’re a cyber criminal you could be expecting a knock at the door over the next few weeks if you’ve been using Genesis.

A dedicated webpage has been set up for people to check if their account has been compromised and renewed advice has been issued on how to keep passwords safe".

More Latest News

See more More Latest News

A boy, 8, was killed in the incident.

Boy, 8, dies after crash on quiet Wiltshire cul-de-sac

Five of the six victims from the stabbing have been named.

Victims of Sydney stabbings named as heartbroken tributes flood in following attack by knifeman who killed six

The Israeli Iron Dome air defence system launches to intercept missiles fired from Iran

Israel hails ‘success’ in blocking Iran’s unprecedented attack

Rishi Sunak confirmed a number of Iranian drones attacking Israel were shot down by RAF jets.

RAF jets shot down ‘a number’ of Iranian drones attacking Israel, Rishi Sunak says

A demonstrator waves Iranian and Palestinian flags during an anti-Israeli gathering at the Felestin (Palestine) Square in Tehran, Iran

What is the fallout from Iran’s attack on Israel?

Disability advocate Charlotte Anderson advises people on how to apply for PIP.

YouTuber who fills out PIP applications for £650 each says she has ‘only ever lost one claim in six years’

Planning documents show the owners of the pub want to rebuild it in a new location.

Owners of Crooked House agree to rebuild ‘Britain’s wonkiest pub’ - providing it's in a new location

Joe Biden has reaffirmed the US's commitment to defending Israel's security.

Biden reaffirms ‘ironclad support' of Israel as he plans G7 meeting to coordinate ‘diplomatic response to Iran attack’

The IDF said over 300 weapons were fired by Iran.

‘Together we will win’: Netanyahu vows to fight off attacks from Iran after over 300 drones and missiles fired at Israel

Israeli's military have fought off a massive Iranian drone and missile attack - downing more than 200 weapons launched by the hostile state with the help of ace RAF pilots.

Israel fights off massive Iran attack - downing over 200 missiles and drones with help of RAF

Plans have been drawn up for an evacuation of Brits from the Middle East. Defence Secretary Grant Shapps (l) and protesters outside the British Embassy in Tehran (r)

Brits living in the Middle East could be rescued by the Royal Marines in 'Dunkirk-style' evacuation

The knifeman who killed six people in a rampage at a Sydney shopping centre has been named as 40-year-old Joel Cauchi (left)

Pictured: Sydney knifeman, 40, who killed six people before being shot dead by brave policewoman

Iranian drones and missiles have arrived in Israel with explosions in the skies - as officials warn of a "significant response" to the massive attack.

Explosions in skies and sirens across Jerusalem amid Iranian attack - as Israel warns of 'significant response'

USS Bataan which is heading to the Eastern Mediterranean (main) and Joe Biden (r)

US sends amphibious warship and 2,500 Marines into the Eastern Mediterranean after Iran attacks Israel

US and UK forces are helping defend Israel from Iranian drones and missiles after a massive attack was launched.

British and American jets 'shoot down Iranian drones' as Rishi Sunak slams Iran for 'reckless' attack against Israel

President Biden is holding an emergency national security meeting as the US prepares its response to Iran's drone and missile attack on Israel.

President Biden holds high-stakes emergency meeting as Iran launches full-scale attack on Israel