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Famous "Genesis Market," which offered digital identities for sale online, has been shut down

The "Genesis Market," which Europol called "one of the most dangerous marketplaces selling stolen account credentials to hackers worldwide," has been taken down by police from 17 different counties.

With 119 arrests, 208 property searches, and 97 knock-and-talk procedures, the illegal service was shut down and its infrastructure was seized. Police agencies announced the international sweep took place on April 4.


At the time of its shutdown, Genesis Market was regarded as one of the largest criminal facilitation platforms, with more than 1.5 million bot listings totaling more than 2 million identities.


The FBI and the Dutch National Police (Politie) were in charge of the operation, and a command post was set up at Europol's headquarters on the day of the action to coordinate the various law enforcement measures taking place throughout the world.


Digital identities were the major illegal commodity on Genesis Market. This market would sell what the owners of the market referred to as "bots," which were malware or account takeover attacks that had infected victims' devices.


"Upon purchase of such a bot, criminals would get access to all the data harvested by it such as fingerprints, cookies, saved logins and autofill form data. This information was collected in real time – the buyers would be notified of any change of passwords, etc," a Europol official said today.

"The price per bot would range from as little as USD 0.70 up to several hundreds of dollars depending on the amount and nature of the stolen data. The most expensive would contain financial information which would allow access to online banking accounts."


"The criminals buying these special bots were not only provided with stolen data, but also with the means of using it. Buyers were provided with a custom browser which would mimic the one of their victim. This allowed the criminals to access their victim’s account without triggering any of the security measures from the platform the account was on," the representative claimed.


These security methods include identifying a distinct operating system, browser fingerprint, or log-in location.


Though it was hidden from law authorities behind an invitation-only curtain, Genesis Market was available on the public internet, unlike other illegal markets. It became a well-liked resource among hackers due to its availability and affordable rates, which significantly lowered the entry barrier for customers.


"The takedown of Genesis Market was a priority for law enforcement given the platform’s ability to facilitate all types of cybercrime," according to a statement from Europol.


A command post was also established at the agency's headquarters in The Hague, the Netherlands, to ensure the seamless execution of the action day throughout the world. The operation involved Europol's European Cybercrime Centre (EC3) at The Hague.


"Through the combined efforts of all the law enforcement authorities involved, we have severely disrupted the criminal cyber ecosystem by removing one of its key enablers. With victims located across the globe, the strong relationships with our international partners were critical in the success of this case," said Edvardas Ileris, Head of Europol's European Cybercrime Centre, in response to this operation.


It's likely that your credentials have already been advertised for sale on Genesis Market, where over 1.5 million bots are listed.


To determine if your data has been compromised, the Dutch Police has created a portal. Enter your email address at https://www.politie.nl/checkyourhack to determine whether it is a Genesis Market leak.

The following are the actions you should take if your digital identity has been stolen:


1. Run your antivirus software. Most of the time, your antivirus will detect and get rid of the infection. If you don't want cybercriminals to get their hands on your passwords, you should update them all at once.

2. Notify all relevant stakeholders. You should inform your bank, insurance provider, and any other significant third party about your identity theft.


Keep in mind that hackers are quick to modify their methods in order to take advantage of any opening. You can take a few easy precautionary measures to make it more challenging for them to access your devices and data:

  • Install antivirus software on all of your electronic devices, if it is available.

  • Make sure all of your software is up to date, including your operating system, browser, and antivirus.

  • Only search for and download legitimate software updates from reputable websites.

  • Use caution when visiting the internet and avoid clicking on any pop-ups, dialog boxes, or links that seem fishy.

  • Be cautious when opening links or attachments in unforeseen emails.

  • Create secure passwords. Create secure passwords or passphrases for every website and service you use. This is where using a password manager is beneficial.

  • Whenever possible, turn on multifactor authentication for each of your accounts.

By fLEXI tEAM


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