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Carderprofit.cc Was FBI Carding Sting, Nets 26 Arrests 181

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the crime-pays-but-then-prison dept.
tsu doh nimh writes in with news of a major sting operation against carders. From the article: "The U.S. Justice Department today unveiled the results of a two-year international cybercrime sting that culminated in the arrest of 26 people accused of trafficking in hundreds of thousands of stolen credit and debit card accounts. Among those arrested was an alleged core member of 'UGNazi,' a malicious hacking group that has claimed responsibility for a flood of recent attacks on Internet businesses." The trick: the FBI ran a carding forum as a honeypot.
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Carderprofit.cc Was FBI Carding Sting, Nets 26 Arrests

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  • The trick? (Score:2, Insightful)

    FBI created some criminals.
    • by Cryacin (657549)
      Geez, next you'll tell me that using dodgy sites through Tor to buy illegal crap with bitcoins mailed to your home address is a bad idea.
      • Re:The trick? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by mikael_j (106439) on Wednesday June 27, 2012 @10:35AM (#40467211)

        If you're talking about Silk Road then I'm sure the authorities are pretty annoyed by it since at least here in Sweden they can't really do much if they somehow intercept a package containing drugs, weapons or some other contraband at the border and they can't follow the money or otherwise tie it to you (and it being addressed to you doesn't count since if it did you could just mail a few illegal items to anyone you wanted and tell the cops those people were expecting packages containing said illegal items).

        • Re:The trick? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) on Wednesday June 27, 2012 @11:16AM (#40467727)
          The Silk Road thing set off my tin foil hat alarm. If I were a TLA, there's no way I'd openly admit that there was a way to be completely out of their reach.

          $5 says Tor, or at least Silk Road is compromised, or maybe even a honeypot itself. If you were into the kind of thing they're in to, and a little short on the brain cell front, wouldn't you flock to the "Guaranteed safe by the FBI!" places?
          • by mikael_j (106439)

            I'd be suspicious as well except that a conspiracy theory like this would require a few unlikely things.

            First of all, even if Silk Road itself was trying to gather user info all they could really catch would be usernames, passwords, delivery addresses and BC addresses that they received BC from, none of which are very useful in a trial if the user has taken the basic recommended security precautions. It's not like they're asking for a whole bunch of private personal info, they want their users to supply the

            • by Alranor (472986)

              It wouldn't surprise me to discover that Tor had been broken by the NSA, but they're not going to reveal that they've managed to do that just to convict a few people of possession/supply of controlled substances.

    • Re:The trick? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 27, 2012 @10:25AM (#40467071)

      FBI created some criminals.

      Sure they did. Those poor innocents, tricked into doing something they weren't already doing.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        PROTIP: In Germany, that behavior is illegal for a reason.
        The very same reason, the content Mafia can’t set up file sharing servers and downloads, and then sue people for downloading that.
        It means you are part of the crime. (But hey, the FBI is used to that like no other...)
        And that means you can't sue, without incriminating yourself too.

        Yes, this not also counts for the police, but counts ESPECIALLY for the police, which is held to a higher standard.

        • Re:The trick? (Score:5, Informative)

          by arth1 (260657) on Wednesday June 27, 2012 @11:37AM (#40468015) Homepage Journal

          PROTIP: In Germany, that behavior is illegal for a reason.
          The very same reason, the content Mafia canâ(TM)t set up file sharing servers and downloads, and then sue people for downloading that.
          It means you are part of the crime. (But hey, the FBI is used to that like no other...)
          And that means you can't sue, without incriminating yourself too.

          No, while both are illegal, it's for different reasons. One is called "unclean hands", and the other is called "entrapment".

          If VISA had set up a site and participated in hacking VISA cards, they would have unclean hands. It would change their status.

          If a three letter agency does the same, and it causes people who otherwise would not have done that particular crime to do it, it's called entrapment. It would change the suspect's status.

          • Re:The trick? (Score:5, Informative)

            by Burning1 (204959) on Wednesday June 27, 2012 @12:15PM (#40468483) Homepage

            If a three letter agency does the same, and it causes people who otherwise would not have done that particular crime to do it, it's called entrapment. It would change the suspect's status.

            This is a common and incorrect understanding of entrapment. It's entrapment if the FBI tells you to steal credit cards, and then arrests you for it. It is not entrapment if the FBI makes credit cards available to be stolen, and then arrests you for it stealing them, The former is an example of the FBI pressuring you to do something you wouldn't have done. The latter is an example of the FBI facilitating you to do something you would have done, given an opportunity.

            Entrapment: You should hire that hitman to kill your wife.
            Not entrapment: I'm a hitman. Do you want to kill your wife?

            • Re:The trick? (Score:5, Informative)

              by arth1 (260657) on Wednesday June 27, 2012 @12:29PM (#40468683) Homepage Journal

              This is a common and incorrect understanding of entrapment.

              One shared by the Supreme Court Of The United States.
              They incorrectly claim that the prosecution must overcome a "subjective test" by showing the defendant had a predisposition to commit the crime in any event, even if the law enforcement operatives had not been present.

              https://supreme.justia.com/cases/federal/us/287/435/case.html [justia.com]
              https://supreme.justia.com/cases/federal/us/503/540/case.html [justia.com]

              I think you need to go teach these justices the errors of their ways.

              • by JTsyo (1338447)
                Don't cops do this all the time with cars that are meant to be stolen?
                • by PRMan (959735)

                  They're not telling anyone in particular to steal the bait car. They're just parking it in a crime-ridden neighborhood with the doors unlocked with the key in the ignition. It still has to be stolen by somebody.

                  In the same way, the FBI can make it as easy as possible to steal credit cards. You still have to steal them.

                  Neither one can counsel any particular individual into doing it.

              • by Burning1 (204959)

                You didn't bother to read either of the articles you linked to, did you?

                In both cases, it was established that government agents pressured the defendents to commit the crime they are being prosocuted for.

                Here's the most relevent quotes from the articles you linked:

                Jacobson v. United States

                After 2 1/2 years on the Government mailing list, Jacobson was solicited to order child pornography. He answered a letter that described concern about child pornography as hysterical nonsense and decried international cens

          • by tehcyder (746570)
            If someone is stupid or morally retarded enough to get entrapped into criminal behaviour, it serves them right if they're caught and prosecuted.

            If I set up a sting website offering cheap hitmen, any moron who signed up to use it should be treated as being part of a conspiracy to murder, and given life in prison.

            Why do so many people here have sympathy for criminal fuckwits just because they carry out their crimes on the internet, instead of bashing little old ladies on the head in their homes?
      • by arth1 (260657)

        Sure they did. Those poor innocents, tricked into doing something they weren't already doing.

        If they had evidence that they were already doing something illegal, they should have arrested them on that evidence.

        Entrapment is mostly illegal, and can only be used when it can be shown that the crime would occur by the same defendant whether or not the police was involved.
        If any of the 26 might not have committed the crime if it wasn't for the FBI's web site, the case should fall.

        Also see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jacobson_v._United_States [wikipedia.org]

        • Re:The trick? (Score:5, Informative)

          by Lashat (1041424) on Wednesday June 27, 2012 @11:42AM (#40468055)

          This is not automatically entrapment. The sting is just like a drugs for sale or prostitution on a street corner. Undercover cop wearing a wire and being videotaped by concealed police sits on stragetic street corner known to be hot with drugs or prostitution. The undercover cop is dressed to bait the individual seeking the drugs/services they believe the undercover is there to provide. When the individual atempts to solicit for purchase the drugs/services they are arrested for that crime.

          It is only entrapment if the person is induced to commit a crime "he or she is not previously disposed to commit".
          http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/entrapment [thefreedictionary.com]

          An important and often argued point.

        • by tehcyder (746570)
          Your concern for the rights of credit card fraudsters is touching.
    • by tehcyder (746570)

      FBI created some criminals.

      Yeah, my heart bleeds for these poor victims of Evil Government Oppression.

  • HILARIOUS.. I mean it reminds me of the dick-tracy parody bugs bunny cartoon yeaaaaaars ago where the villains' hideout was marked by a blinking marquee and neon signs that said "secret hideout" or something. how dumb are the criminals that fall for this?
    • by alen (225700)

      most criminals are dumb. its just that unless its a violent crime most times the cops ignore you if you're a loner. once you set up an organization that starts costing businesses a lot of money you get noticed.

      the people involved are dumb

      EVERYTHING is tracked
      if you're a checkout drone everything is tracked. everyone knows which purchases you ring up. if there is a rash of CC fraud the first thing people will do is look in the computer for similarities and guess what, they will find that by some strange coin

      • by mcgrew (92797) *

        most criminals are dumb.

        Then why are 90% of crimes unsolved? No, most criminals who get caught are dumb. Look how long Madoff got away with his multibillion dollar Ponzi scheme.

        They're not dumb, they just have no morals.

        • Madoff did not get away with his Ponzi scheme because he was smart. He got away with it because the regulators never investigated any of the red flags that should have clued them that something about his scheme was dodgy (partly because Madoff had high powered friends).
          • He was clearly smarter then his investors.

            I downloaded a list of his suckers. They should be ready to harvest again in about 10 years.

    • by wiredog (43288)

      how dumb are the criminals that fall for this?
      If they were smart, they wouldn't become criminals. Most criminals are somewhat less than bright.

      • by arth1 (260657)

        If they were smart, they wouldn't become criminals.

        Non sequitur.
        If they were smart criminals, they wouldn't get caught.

      • Or perhaps only the dumber ones get caught. The smart ones can get away with it.
      • by moeinvt (851793)

        Some people get a criminal conviction early in their lives which basically destroys their future earnings potential, regardless of whatever skills and education they might achieve.

        Given the choice of serving burgers and fries for the rest of their lives or using their talents to earn a comfortable living (albeit with major risk) they choose the latter.

      • by asdf7890 (1518587)
        No: if they were smart then they'd have other dumb criminals doing the work with enough indirection between them that they can't be reliably implicated by the authorities.

        There are some very bright criminals out there. You usually don't hear about them because they are generally bright enough to stay far enough away from the front lines.
        • by PRMan (959735)

          There are some very bright criminals out there.

          Yeah, they're usually CEOs.

    • by mrops (927562)

      I recalled watching some program where robber handed out a "hand me all your money" note on the back of his medical prescription.

      Over time I realized that majority of these petty thief are doing what they are doing because they are too dumb or lazy to do anything else.

      I mean it takes certain kind of an idiot to do stupid crime, the smart ones become bankers.

    • by Mashiki (184564)

      how dumb are the criminals that fall for this?

      Want the truth? Most of them, that's how you catch the majority of them, and I'm not talking about closure rates. I'm talking about the plain old dumb criminals that simply hand you everything they know right off the bat. Most criminals are dumb, it doesn't take much in the way of brains to be one. It's being crafty and sly that makes a good criminal.

  • Hmm (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Why does Avast WebRep have 3 red bars for justice.gov?

  • Waste of time (Score:5, Insightful)

    by benjfowler (239527) on Wednesday June 27, 2012 @10:30AM (#40467145)

    The carders they busted are low-life amateurs, not serious criminals. I'm sure the FBI and friends will milk this for all it's worth, but it's the equivalent of nicking a couple of shoplifters while at the same time, Mexican drug lords are burning down the entire city.

    Come and wake me up when they bag some REAL criminals, like the big Russian gangsters robbing SMEs out of hundreds of millions per annum.

    The real criminals are untouched -- and untouchable.

    • by King_TJ (85913) on Wednesday June 27, 2012 @10:46AM (#40467351) Journal

      Of course the parent poster is right... I'd imagine any serious credit card thief would be operating through Tor, doing anonymous payment with something like Bitcoin, and not even fooling around with signing up on new sites of unknown/unverified origins.

      But this is pretty typical for the FBI. They're as interested in the P.R. as anything else. They need to show they're making arrests and giving the news media something positive to print. It helps ensure their continued funding for the division handling these high-tech crimes and they probably also figure it's a deterrent to beginners, who could become tomorrow's elite card thieves otherwise.

      • by DrXym (126579)
        No, it's typical of the FBI to pursue criminals, gather evidence and secure convictions. You might not think these thieves were serious or maybe they were just dumbasses but they were still thieves. After all they traded 400,000 stolen credit cards.
        • by moeinvt (851793) on Wednesday June 27, 2012 @01:30PM (#40469517)

          It's a matter of their priorities. They waste 2 years and countless amounts of time and resources to bust a mere 26 carders?

          Meanwhile, well documented white collar crimes committed by the banking cartel are largely ignored. The FBI reported back in 2003 that there was an "Epidemic of Fraud" in the mortgage market but we didn't see an epidemic of investigations and prosecutions.

          I guess the carders need to hire some lobbyists so that they too can buy a federally issued license to steal.

          • It's a matter of their priorities. They waste 2 years and countless amounts of time and resources to bust a mere 26 carders?

            Why does the number of people busted matter to you?

            Isn't the amount of compromised numbers a far more relevant figure?

            One person selling 400,000 stolen cards vs 100 people selling those same 400,000 cards will hypothetically result in the same amount of theft

          • by DrXym (126579)
            Who's to say this was their top priority or their only ongoing operation?

            You assume that because they *only* arrested 26 people that somehow this investigation wasn't worth it. Except of course these were criminals responsible for trading 400,000 stolen cards and engaged in other related criminal activity. How much effort would be required to arrest 26 people on theft and fraud charges if they were unrelated investigations? At least this way they get to pool their investigation and a lot of the work was

    • by Hatta (162192)

      Come and wake me up when they bag some REAL criminals, like the big Russian gangsters robbing SMEs out of hundreds of millions per annum.

      Or Lloyd Blankfein or John Corzine.

      • by dkleinsc (563838)

        Why limit ourselves to property crime? I'd really want them more focused on some really dangerous people like:
          * Dick Cheney (crime against humanity - ordering waterboarding)
          * Barack Obama (murder in the first degree of Anwar Al-Awlaki)
          * Rudolph Giuliani and Howard Dean (material support for a designated terrorist organization, the Iranian MEK)

        • by Hatta (162192)

          Because destroying the livelihood of thousands or millions can be expected to destroy the lives of tens or thousands. Crimes on this scale are a bit more than just "property crime".

    • Re:Waste of time (Score:5, Insightful)

      by phantomfive (622387) on Wednesday June 27, 2012 @11:09AM (#40467623) Journal
      People who've stolen hundreds of thousands of credit card numbers are worth arresting, even if there are other people who are worse.
    • I live in Mexico (born in the Netherlands). While there was a shoot out in a neighbourhood very close to ours about a year and a half ago, I suffer right now much more from actual criminals as in Banamex, the so called National Bank of Mexico.

      Back in November my bank card got stolen, a card with a nice but meaningless MasterCard [1] logo. It got cloned before the theft was even discovered (piss poor security on those cards) and used to shop in 2 different locations, in total around 2000 USD of goods, includ

      • Paraguay is a country where your credit card is cloned / stolen by default. Fortunately when I left this junk country I suspected and immediately canceled the card and asked for another.
        • Last time I tried I even couldn't get a credit card (Banamex) with a FM3 visa. I had to sign 26+ forms, wait like 2 months and then I got declined. The reason? Banamex is afraid that as a foreigner you're going to leave the country taking their precious 20,000 MXN with you (less than 1,500 USD). As long as they do the ripping off it's OK, but beware, oh foreigner, because according to Banamex you're crooks by default.
    • by plover (150551) *

      Crime is crime. Since there's more than enough crime to go around for the resources available to fight it, that means the fighting has to be prioritized. But it doesn't mean all low level crimes are completely ignored while the biggest crimes get 100% of the resources.

      The fight against carders is statistical. While it's more of a "nuisance" crime to the hundreds of thousands of people who have to disrupt their lives cleaning up their credit messes, the total loss from those hundreds of thousands of indiv

    • Come and wake me up when they bag some REAL criminals...

      And risk getting their funding cut?

    • by Jeng (926980)

      I would hate to go fishing with you, if we didn't catch the absolute biggest fish in the lake you would apparently call it a failure.

      Police like fisherman pull in those who take the bait.

    • by poity (465672)

      Does that seem circular to you? It does to me, because the reasoning seems to go like this:

      If a criminal can be busted by cops, then that criminal is a low-life amateur, not a serious criminal. Therefore, whenever cops land a bust, they will always catch low-life amateurs, never serious criminals.

      Logically this means the very act of being caught transforms any criminal into a low-life amateur, which means that cops can never catch serious criminals by the standard of this reasoning. Yet, this same reasoning

  • by j00r0m4nc3r (959816) on Wednesday June 27, 2012 @10:39AM (#40467253)
    Ok, this is a purely curiosity-based question, and I know there's lot of web security people roaming around here. How would you actually detect that a website like this is a honeypot?
    • by gv250 (897841) on Wednesday June 27, 2012 @10:48AM (#40467385)

      How would you actually detect that a website like this is a honeypot?

      The 6:00 AM knock on your door.

    • by Hatta (162192)

      I am not able rightly to apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question.

    • by PPH (736903)
      They all are. So stay in your mom's basement and don't go using credit card numbers you've found on line.
    • by Fnord666 (889225)

      Ok, this is a purely curiosity-based question, and I know there's lot of web security people roaming around here. How would you actually detect that a website like this is a honeypot?

      If all of the email addresses in the DNS entry go to fbi.gov, it might be a honeypot.
      If the server ip addresses are in the fbi.gov ip block, it might be a honeypot.
      Feel free to add others!

    • by Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) on Wednesday June 27, 2012 @11:14AM (#40467693) Journal

      That is a very good question. Here are some tips..

      If the tcp packets coming back to you are mysteriously lacking in honey ... it might be a honey pot.
      If their is a slight buzzing comming from your network connection... it might be a honey pot.
      If swarms of bees, bears, or badgers appear around your computer .... it might be a honey pot.

    • by tobiasly (524456) on Wednesday June 27, 2012 @11:45AM (#40468093) Homepage
      $> dig carderprofit.cc
      ;; QUESTION SECTION:
      ;carderprofit.cc.               IN      A

      ;; ANSWER SECTION:
      carderprofit.cc         78003   IN      CNAME   fbi.gov.
      fbi.gov                 78003   IN      A       72.21.81.85
      • by belthize (990217)

        This is close, if dig returns a result at all be wary. You can never be sure but do you really want to be discussing illegal activities at a site hosted on Amazon Web Services (dig actually returns awsdns though that's probably synonymous with fbi.gov in this case) vs some dark net address.

    • If it's done well, you wouldn't. There is the chance someone at the FBI will slip up though - maybe use an IP address that is in the same allocation as other FBI public servers, or something like that. But if they don't, then there is no way to prove it *isn't* a honeypot.
    • by JTsyo (1338447)
      Have you seen any cop shows (NCIS etc)? The tech guys/gals they have working for them are really sharp.
      • I have seen some tech shows lately. Those tech guy/gals mutter a few strings of long tech sounding words and type a bit on a keyboard. If that ritual is done at the right time (about 10minutes left in the show assuming not a cliff-hanger episode) then pictures flash by on the screen and they magically get the location of the bad guys. If you're a black hat on those shows, then to get away you have to either be on the lookout for someone "silently pinging your network facing encrypted cloud based interface o

  • I'm gonna go out on a limb (sorry about the pun) and say that all they got were low hanging fruit.

    I mean the criminal would have to be pretty dumb to actual use said service.

    This is making criminals, if such a service wasn't available, likely these dullards wouldn't have a way to break the law (at least in this context).

    Anyway I doubt this has improved the world in any appreciable way.

    • by slazzy (864185)
      This might be true, but they can use them to follow the chain up to the bigger criminals or at least get clues as to who they are.
    • When you tolerate the small criminals, they sooner or later become major criminals. And as another commenter posted, you can follow the little ones to find the big ones.
  • by Madman (84403) on Wednesday June 27, 2012 @10:45AM (#40467335) Homepage

    I for one am happy that law enforcement is finally figuring out how to apply traditional police work to the internet successfully. It's the good old-fashioned sting made digital.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    http://news.sky.com/story/952931/fraud-ring-in-hacking-attack-on-60-banks

  • by plover (150551) * on Wednesday June 27, 2012 @05:28PM (#40472317) Homepage Journal

    I wonder if their bail bondsmen took Visa or MasterCard?

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