Posted: Wed 5th Apr 2023

Flintshire man arrested after criminal marketplace shutdown in global law enforcement operation

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Wednesday, Apr 5th, 2023

As part of an international law enforcement operation targeting criminals who used an online marketplace to sell stolen personal information, a man from Flintshire has been arrested.

Genesis Market was one of the largest criminal marketplaces, used by online fraudsters to purchase passwords and other stolen data.

It was taken offline on Tuesday as part of a global crackdown led by the FBI and Dutch National Police

Genesis Market was a go-to service for criminals seeking to defraud victims and hosted approximately 80 million credentials and digital fingerprints stolen from over two million people.

As part of the investigation, the National Crime Agency (NCA) identified hundreds of UK-based users of the platform, and information was passed to policing partners across the country.

This resulted in 31 warrants being executed in coordinated raids by the NCA, Regional Cyber Crime Units, and police forces, 24 people were arrested.

The North West Regional Organised Crime Unit conducted coordinated raids as part of the operation which led to the arrest of a 43-year-old man from Mold.

All those arrested were taken to local police stations for questioning, but have since been released under investigation while forensic examination takes place.

Genesis Market was a marketplace for digital identities and sold bots that contained information harvested from victim devices that had been infected using malicious attacks.

These attacks were indiscriminately conducted against both members of the public and companies operating in a variety of sectors.

The bots gave criminals access to all the data related to an individual’s identity, such as cookies, saved logins, and autofill form data. This information was collected in real-time, meaning the buyers would be notified of any change of passwords, etc.

The price per bot would range from as little as 0.56p up to several hundred pounds, depending on the amount and nature of the stolen data.

The most expensive bots would contain financial information that would allow access to online banking accounts.

The police stated that Genesis Market was unique in providing users with a custom browser that mimicked the victim’s browser.

This allowed criminals to masquerade as the victim, making it look like they were accessing their accounts from the usual location and operating system, thus not triggering security measures.

Criminals could use this access to steal from victims, either by directly moving money out of an account or using the credentials to pay for goods and services for their benefit.

A spokesperson for North Wales Police said:

“Officers from the North Wales Police Cybercrime team took part in the Genesis Marketplace warrants and a male from North Wales was arrested on suspicion of Fraud offences and his computers seized.”

“We will continue to target those who cause the most harm.”

Detective Inspector Chris McClellan from the NWROCU’s Cyber Crime Team said:

“We urge members of the public to check if their data has been compromised and accessed by criminals on Genesis Market by visiting https://www.politie.nl/checkyourhack and inputting their email address.

“If you have been compromised, please report it to Action Fraud via their online portal.”

“We also encourage members of the public to follow some simple steps to protect their devices and online accounts, which can be accessed on the NCA website: https://bit.ly/GenesisMarket.”

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