Written by Tonya Riley
The FBI on Tuesday seized an illicit market that has made millions selling the personal data of about 24 million U.S. citizens, according to the Justice Department.
SSNDOB Marketplace operated through an update rotation of websites that sold records that included names, dates of birth, and US social security numbers. The administrators advertised their services to clients on dark web markets, according to a DOJ press release.
US law enforcement worked with authorities in Cyrus and Latvia to seize four estates belonging to SSNDOB administrators.
Users were able to pay for services through a wallet address associated with their accounts, according to cryptocurrency analytics firm Chainalysis. SSNDOB has processed more than $22 million worth of bitcoins since 2015, the researchers found. The median purchase was $220, but records show purchases of up to $100,000.
Chainalysis also uncovered financial links between SSNDOB and Joker’s Stash, an infamous darknet marketplace for stolen credit cards and personal information that shut down in January 2021. Bitcoin transfers between the two ranging from December 2018 to June 2019 suggest a relationship. possible.
The takedown is the FBI’s second seizure this month of a criminal operation claiming stolen data. Last week, the FBI and the Justice Department announced that they had seized weleak.to, a subscription search engine that claimed to offer users records of more than 10,000 data breaches.
“Identity theft can have a devastating effect on a victim’s long-term emotional and financial health. The removal of the SSNDOB website has disrupted identity theft criminals and helped millions of Americans whose personal information has been compromised,” said Darrell Waldon, Special Agent in Charge of the IRS-CI Field Office ( criminal investigation) DC.
The implications of the withdrawal, however, go beyond financial fraud.
“Services like SSNDOB enable several types of digital fraud by giving cybercriminals access to stolen PII,” Chainalysis researchers wrote in a blog post. “Not only can this stolen information be exploited to target victims for scam purposes, but it can also be used by cybercriminals to create online accounts that cannot be traced back to them, which can then constitute the backbone of other cybercriminal schemes”.
They pointed to the use of stolen information by the Russian Internet Research Agency to create fake social media accounts ahead of the 2016 and 2020 elections.