updated 02:45 pm EDT, Thu April 26, 2012
FBI and EU agencies stop criminal carding sites
The FBI, the UK Serious Organized Crime Agency, and other European authorities have shut down 36 criminal websites by seizing the domains. The sites, selling details for hundreds of thousands of stolen credit cards, were finally brought down after a two-year criminal investigation into the activities.
Seized domains, including freshcc.org, 444pay.org and ccstore.biz, were set up as online stores or "Automated Vending Carts” selling batches of data for as little as $1 per card account. Approximately 2.5 million "items" of compromised personal data have been passed to financial institutions to help prevent or interrupt fraud taking place on the accounts, with SOCA estimating the potential international fraud prevented by the seizure to be valued at over half a billion pounds (~$800 million USD).
Although the seized domains redirect to a law enforcement closure notice, there is nothing stopping other URLs from being used to distribute stolen account information. Criminals may face difficulty utilizing accounts that have been flagged as part of the seizure, though the full scope of the problem remains unclear.
Several arrests were made in the UK, including two suspects accused of making large purchases from the websites, while a site operator is said to have been arrested in Macedonia. [via Wired]