ValidCC, a Dark Web market for selling stolen credit cards, was operated by a cybercrime group for the last six years. Last week it unexpectedly shut down. It was later announced by a member of the group that law enforcement had seized their servers. User “SPR”, a ValidCC admin, announced that the group would be halting operations for good last week. ValidCC had thousands of users, many of which had large amounts of bitcoin stored in the shop. Upon SPR’s announcement, several users posted to other criminal forums claiming the shutdown was not because of law enforcement intervention, but an exit scam, as Bitcoin was at an all-time high last week. If this was conducted by law enforcement, it marks the second successful operation against dark web credit card shops in the last three months. In December of last year, the U.S. Department of Justice and Interpol seized servers of Jokers Stash, perhaps the most prolific credit card dark web site. After multiple interruptions and takedowns, the Jokers Stash admin announced he would be closing the shop for good.
Law enforcement has been ramping up operations against cyber threat actors in 2021. They have had a lot of success, but each success undoubtedly creates an opportunity for other cybercriminals. Binary Defense analysts continue to monitor popular credit card markets and will be looking to see if any of them try and take on more business now that ValidCC is gone. Buying and selling fraudulent credit cards, and individuals credit card info is a big business on the dark web. Hopefully more takedowns and law enforcement involvement will deter future criminals. To prevent fraudulent charges by credit card thieves, businesses should continuously monitor point-of-sale computer systems for malware and watch for changes to any e-commerce website’s checkout page or included scripts. Consumers should sign up for one-time use credit cards which can be purchased through verified services or some banks. These services allow the consumer to purchase a pre-loaded credit card that can only be used once or used multiple times but has a balance of zero until the money is added to it.