You may remember a while back in 2008 it was uncovered (at least publically) that DarkMarket was actually an FBI Sting Operation.
Insiders had apparently known since 2006 that one of the admins was actually an undercover FBI agent. Countless cases have gone to court with the evidence and contacts gathered in the DarkMarket forums. One example would be the Turk named Cagatay Evyapan (nickname Cha0) who got busted.
The latest news is one of the previous admins Renukanth Subramaniam (nickname JiLsi) has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud and admitted his involvement with the site.
A former London pizza delivery man faces a 10-year prison sentence after admitting he helped found the notorious DarkMarket forum for computer crime, several news sites reported.
Renukanth Subramaniam, a 33-year-old Sri Lanka-born man from North London, pleaded guilty at Blackfriars Crown Court in London to conspiracy to defraud and furnishing false information. Authorities say he joined DarkMarket on its first day of operation in late 2005 and helped build it into an online resource for payment card fraud, with a thriving exchange for buying and selling stolen data and its own secure payment system.
DarkMarket operated for three years and had about 2,500 members at its peak. To be accepted, candidates had to provide details of 100 compromised cards to reviewers, who would then verify their validity. Members were required to adhere to a strict code of conduct that forbid foul language and pornography and demanded a kind of honor among thieves.
Subramaniam was one of the earliest members on DarkMarket joining back in 2005 on its first day of operation and becoming an admin soon after that.
He’s facing a maximum sentence of 10 years, I’d imagine the sentence will come out to 2-3 years and with good behaviour he’ll be out of the cushy white-collar prison in 18 months or less.
So much for clamping down on crime eh? I shall reserve further judgment until we actually find out the real sentence.
Subramaniam worked as a site administrator until October 2006, when he was forcibly demoted over allegations of poor security hygiene. He continued as a reviewer until June 2007 and was arrested the following month when he turned himself in to police in Wembley.
DarkMarket was shuttered in September 2008 following the arrest of another site admin who called himself Cha0. According to news reports, the Turkish hacker was known as a supplier of high-quality skimmers for payment card fraud and was eventually accused of kidnapping and torturing a Turkish police informant.
A month later, another DarkMarket admin with the handle Master Splynter was outted as senior cybercrime agent J Keith Mularski of the FBI. The website, it turned out, had been secretly run from an FBI facility in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Also on Thursday, a second DarkMarket associate pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud. John McHugh, 69, of Doncaster, South Yorkshire, was alleged to be an experienced payment card fraudster who went by the online moniker Devilman.
It seems like a lot of the main players in the carding scene are getting shut down, at least those that show a public face.
Of course the underground will always continue to tick on, making money and hiding in the shadows.
So, just be careful where you shop online and always check the ATM for skimming devices!
Source: The Register