Tech & Science

How police in Canada helped the FBI in crackdown on the stolen data market

A large online marketplace selling packaged and stolen data is no longer in operation after an international four-year investigation called Operation Cookie Monster culminated in this week’s coordinated day of action. not.

Search warrants were executed around the world, including three in Ontario, two in the Greater Toronto area and one in London, devices were seized and stop orders issued Tuesday.

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Ontario Police spokesperson Bill Dixon said, “Investigators seized the electronic equipment during the search warrant and will undergo a detailed analysis.

“We cannot speculate as to what charges will be made. That will depend on the outcome of the investigation.”

Operation Cookie Monster centered around Genesis Market, a large illegal online marketplace that packages and sells stolen data. The investigation was led by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation with the support of police from 17 countries, including her 28 military in Canada.

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The RCMP’s National Cybercrime Coordination Center (NC3) said Genesis Market “sold ‘bots’ that infect victims’ devices through malware and account takeover attacks.”

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NC3 Director Chris Lynam, who is also head of the Canadian Fraud Countermeasures Center within the RCMP, said Tuesday that there were 79 “clear law enforcement actions, including arrests, execution of search warrants, and direct involvement of suspected users” in Canada. It said there had been, but did not say how many individuals were arrested or involved. However, he noted that more than half of the actions involved individuals in Quebec.

“The Sûreté du Québec has therefore played a major role, along with several other local police services in Quebec, in carrying out this law enforcement action against (market) users.”

A user who tried to access the Genesis Market saw this splash page stating it was seized after Operation Cookie Monster. via Internet Archive Wayback Machine

According to NC3, the Genesis Market had more than 1.5 million bots and 2 million identities listed before it was shut down, “making it one of the largest online crime facilitators.” Lynam explained that the two million IDs don’t necessarily match his two million individuals affected.

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“If access to your Amazon and your PayPal accounts was advertised there, it could be one (identity), but if you’re using a different email, it’s probably another, such as your bank. If you’re using an account on the scene and the site, these may be marketed as two different things.”

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It’s also unclear how many of the 2 million IDs were associated with Canadians.

“The investigation was widely conducted and involved many international partners, so it is difficult to say how many Canadians were affected,” said a spokesperson for the Radio, Television and Telecommunications Commission of Canada. told Global News on Wednesday.

“CRTC is committed to working with domestic and international partners to enhance information sharing, improve target identification and coordinate enforcement.”

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Lynam said Canadians can check online to see if their data has been compromised. Have I Been Pwned or the dutch police online portalIf your information is exposed, RCMP suggests that you change your password, run antivirus software on your device, and contact the organization associated with the information obtained. If you lose money or believe you have been victimized, you should report it to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Center, Lynam said.

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An investigation is ongoing, and the RCMP is asking anyone who was active in the Genesis Market or in communication with its administrators to contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.

“People can report anonymously through the Canadian Fraud Prevention Center,” Lynam added.

© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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