Law enforcement authorities in Poland and Switzerland recently knocked out the InfinityBlack hacker group that was involved in fraud, distribution of stolen user credentials, and creating and distributing malware and other hacking tools.
According to Europol, InfinityBlack was taken down on 29th April when the Polish National Police arrested five members of the group and seized electronic equipment, external hard drives, and hardware cryptocurrency wallets worth around €100,000. Police officers also closed down two platforms with databases containing over 170 million entries.
The hacker group, which mainly specialised in selling login credentials known as ‘combos’, was composed of three unique teams- each composed of developers, testers, and project managers. While developers created tools to test the quality of the stolen databases, testers analysed the suitability of authorisation data, and project managers distributed the subscriptions against cryptocurrency payments.
Europol revealed that the main source of income for InfinityBlack was income from the sale of stolen loyalty scheme login credentials to other criminal gangs.
"The hackers created a sophisticated script to gain access to a large number of Swiss customer accounts. Although the losses are estimated at €50,000, hackers had access to accounts with potential losses of more than €610,000. The fraudsters and hackers, among them minors and young adults, were unmasked when using the stolen data in shops in Switzerland.
"A number of investigation measures by specialists from the Cyber Investigation Division (DEC) of the Vaud Cantonal Police made it possible to dismantle the InfinityBlack hackers network set up to exploit this data to the detriment of businesses. Between 30 April and 2 May 2019, five arrests were made in the canton of Vaud, Switzerland," it said.
"Once the criminal gang cashing out the loyalty points was identified in Switzerland, police exchanged criminal intelligence and uncovered links to members of the separate hacking group in Poland. Transmitting the data on searched computers between the Swiss and Polish authorities led to the arrest of the hackers in Poland," Europol added.
The take down of InfinityBlack took place exactly a year after law enforcement authorities in France and Israel took down a cyber crime website called DeepDotWeb that was used by cyber criminals to refer buyers of fentanyl, heroin and other illegal goods to popular Dark Web marketplaces.
Using the website, the cyber criminals also facilitated the sale of illegal drugs, firearms, malicious software, hacking tools, stolen financial information, payment cards and other illegal counterfeit goods on a number of Dark Web marketplaces. The criminals reportedly serviced hundreds of thousands of customers who were looking to purchase such goods discreetly.
According to Europol, two Israeli cyber criminals who ran DeepDotWeb received more than 8,150 bitcoins in kickback payments that amounted to approximately €7.5 million (£6.5 million) when adjusted for the trading value of bitcoin at the time of each transaction from sales of illegal and counterfeit goods through the website.
Recent successes achieved by law enforcement authorities in Europe are owed to the EU Law Enforcement Emergency Response Protocol that was put in place last year to allow Europol's European Cybercrime Centre (EC3) to coordinate with EU law enforcement authorities in responding to major cross-border cyber-attacks.
According to Europol, the new protocol is part of the EU Blueprint for Coordinated Response to Large-Scale Cross-Border Cybersecurity Incidents and Crises and is intended to help EC3 to support EU law enforcement authorities in providing immediate response to major cross-border cyber-attacks through rapid assessment, the secure and timely sharing of critical information and effective coordination of the international aspects of their investigations.