Law enforcement agencies in the United States and Europe today announced the seizure of xDedic, an underground online marketplace selling access to hacked servers and personally identifiable information.
xDedic was detailed in June 2016, when it was selling access to over 176,000 unique hacked servers around the world. Active since around 2014, the website almost immediately turned to the Tor network to keep its operators hidden from security researchers and law enforcement.
Despite that, however, authorities in the United States, Belgium and Ukraine, in collaboration with the European law enforcement agency Europol, managed to seize the shady marketplace on January 24, effectively ceasing its operation.
xDedic used a widely distributed network to keep the location of its underlying servers hidden, and also used the virtual currency Bitcoin to maintain anonymity for its administrators, buyers, and sellers.
The website provided buyers with the ability to search for compromised computer credentials by various criteria, including price, geographic location, and operating system.
Evidence obtained during the investigation suggests the website facilitated more than $68 million in fraud, impacting victims worldwide, spanning all industries, “including local, state, and federal government infrastructure, hospitals, 911 and emergency services, call centers, major metropolitan transit authorities, accounting and law firms, pension funds, and universities.”
In the United States, the investigation was led by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) of Tampa (Florida), with assistance from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
The Federal Computer Crime Unit (FCCU), the Federal Prosecutor’s Office and the Investigating Judge of Belgium, along with the Ukrainian National Cyber Police and Prosecutor General’s office of Ukraine led the investigation in Europe, with the support of the Bundeskriminalamt of Germany and Europol.
Also today, Europol announced that authorities in Europe and beyond are taking action against the users of DDoS-for-hire marketplaces, after tens of such services were seized last year.