A month after the “Genesis Market” was shut down as part of an international law enforcement action, part of the underground marketplace is back online. The BBC reports, citing cybersecurity experts. According to their observations, the Darknet variant of the criminal sales platform for stolen access data was only disrupted for around two weeks, and the administrators have since uploaded the stolen data again. The bosses of the “Genesis Market” are therefore probably still at large, only the copy of the sales platform accessible on the normal Internet has actually been shut down. According to the BBC, the legal process against those arrested is also stalling.
Success not as big as shown
The “Genesis Market” had actually been shut down as part of the internationally coordinated “Operation Cookie Monster”, the Federal Criminal Police Office had declared, among other things. A total of 119 people were arrested and 208 homes were searched. The action coordinated between 17 countries only really hit the part of the sales platform that can be accessed directly on the Internet, on the Darknet it was only quiet for a while. According to Cyril Noel-Tagoe from the cybersecurity company Netacea, the administrators and the technical infrastructure were unaffected by the action. At least there are indications that activity has declined significantly, and most people should now ask themselves twice whether they are still shopping on the platform.
The fact that the entire “Genesis Market” was not shut down during the large-scale operation, but only part of it, was not clear from the reports from the law enforcement agencies involved. The FBI, for example, has now only assured the BBC that it will continue to work to ensure that “users who use a service like Genesis Market will be held accountable”. The British National Cyber Crime Unit has assured that the amount of material offered on it has decreased significantly and criminals’ trust in the platform has been disturbed. However, it is unclear whether this is only short-term or will remain so in the long term, added the experts interviewed by the BBC.
The British broadcaster also explains that of the 30 people arrested in the United Kingdom in connection with “Operation Cookie Monster”, only one has actually been charged so far. This also shows how difficult it is to take action against such platforms. The real successes achieved again and again did not change that. The US Treasury Department assumes that the “Genesis Market” is in Russia. There they should be largely safe from prosecution. They offer access to online services such as Netflix and Amazon, which are even updated thanks to special tools. At least some of the affected accounts have been posted to the Haveibeenpwned project for review.