The Dark Web’s Biggest Marketplace For Stolen Credit Cards Is Shutting Down

UniCC, the largest dark web marketplace for stolen credit and debit cards, announced it was shutting down operations after earning $358 million from purchases since 2013 using cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Litecoin , Ether and Dash.

“Don’t build any conspiracy theories about our departure,” the anonymous UniCC operators said in a farewell posted on dark web carding forums, according to blockchain analytics firm Elliptic. “He is [a] weighted decision, we are not young and our health does not[es] not allow [us] work longer like this.”

The UniCC team also gave its users 10 days to spend their balances, while warning customers to “not track any counterfeits related to our return.”

Platforms such as UniCC operate as an underground market in which payment card details stolen from online retailers, banks and payment companies by injecting malicious skimmers are tampered with in exchange for cryptocurrency. The cards are then used by criminal actors to purchase high-value items or gift cards.

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“This process is known as ‘carding,’ and it has become a key part of the cybercriminal’s playbook,” the Elliptic researchers said. “The technique is very profitable on its own, but it is also used to help launder and cash in cryptocurrency obtained through other types of cybercrime.”

The sunset comes exactly one year after Joker’s Stash, the former market leader, announced its retirement in January 2021 after facilitating the sale of nearly $400 million in stolen cards. The disappearance of Joker’s Stash benefited UniCC, which quickly took over the top spot with a 30% market share, the researchers noted.

Stolen credit cards

It is also the latest in a growing list of criminal markets to have voluntarily closed up shop over the past year, including White House Market, Cannazon and Torrez. This was followed by Monopoly Market, which went offline earlier this month in what is suspected to be an exit scam.

That said, the illicit market for stolen credit card data has grown so lucrative that sales have topped 1.4 billion in Bitcoin alone, paving the way for new entrants into the space and quickly filling the void left by former criminal entities in a way that reflects the ever-changing ransomware landscape.

Prevent data breaches

The most notable of the lot was All World Cards, which burst onto the scene in May 2021 and has since drawn attention by leaking the data of one million credit cards looted between 2018 and 2019 on a cybercrime forum for free. , with most cards from State Bank of India, Banco Santander and Sutton Bank.

“The wave of recent departures has potentially been a trigger for UniCC’s retirement, as illicit actors see an opportunity in the turmoil to either flee with user funds or retire to avoid increased scrutiny from law enforcement,” the researchers said.

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