FBI logo shown at headquarters
Source: Yahoo

FBI seizes notorious marketplace for selling millions of stolen SSNs
The US law enforcement announced the seizure of SSNDOB

The domain of SSNDOB shown seized by FBI
FBI seizes notorious marketplace SSNDOB for selling millions of stolen SSNs
Source: The Hacker News

This week, US law enforcement made the announcement about it taking down the notorious marketplace SSNDOB. Mainly, for it being used for the trade of crucial personal information of millions of American citizens, including their SSNs- Social Security Numbers.

Essentially, FBI was the one to conduct this particular investigation, in collaboration with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Department of Justice (DOJ). Alongside, it also received help from Cyprus Police in seizure of the four domains playing host to the SSNDOB marketplace- ssndob.ws, ssndob.vip, ssndob.club and blackjob.biz.

Reportedly, the marketplace listed the personal information for roughly 24 million people in the country. The data included that of names, dates of birth, credit card numbers, along with Social Security Numbers. Moreover, the DOJ stated how SSNDOB went on to generate a revenue of over $19 million with the listing.

A blockchain analysis company, Chainalysis separately reported about how the marketplace received about $22 million worth of Bitcoin. Moreover, this was over 100,000 transactions since April 2015, despite the marketplace being assumed to be active since 2013 at least.

Revelations from the figures:

From the figures, one can assume that certain users were clearly purchasing a large amount of personally identifiable information from this service, as specified by Chainalysis. Additionally, it also revealed a link between SSNDOB and Joker’s Stash, a large dark net market specialising in stolen credit card information, which was shut done in January last year.

Apparently, SSNDOB operators employed a range of techniques to maintain their anonymity, and thwart identification of their activities. Specifically, these included the use of online monikers that were different from their real identities and strategic maintenance of servers in several countries.

Darrell Waldon, the special agent in charge of criminal investigation field office of IRS in Washington, D.C. gave a statement on the situation. He stated how ‘identity theft’ can leave a lasting effect on the long term emotional and financial wellbeing of the victim. He pointed how the SSNDOB website being taken down interrupted the operation of ‘ID theft criminals,’ aiding millions of citizens whose ‘personal information was compromised.’

FBI seizing the infrastructure of SSNDOB signifies has constant ramping up of steps taken by law enforcement to prevent malicious cyber activity. Moreover, Europol made an announcement last regarding the shutting down of FluBot, an Android trojan that steals online banking data.

On the other hand, the Department of Justice stated that it conducted the seizure of three domains which cybercriminals used to trade stolen personal information, and facilitated the distribute denial of service (DDoS) attacks for hire.