-International law enforcement agencies have seized a sprawling dark web marketplace popular with cybercriminals, Britain’s National Crime Agency (NCA) said on Wednesday, in a multinational crackdown dubbed “Operation Cookie Monster.”
A banner plastered across Genesis Market’s site late on Tuesday said domains belonging to the organization had been seized by the FBI. Logos of other European, Canadian, and Australian police organizations were also emblazoned across the site, along with that of cybersecurity firm Qintel.
“We assess that the Genesis is one of the most significant access marketplaces anywhere in the world,” said Rob Jones, the NCA’s Director General of Threat Leadership.
The NCA estimated that the service hosted about 80 million credentials and digital fingerprints stolen from more than 2 million people.
U.S. Justice Department Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco in a statement said many of the forum’s users were arrested on Tuesday. A senior FBI official said arrests had been made in the United States but declined to provide further details. The investigation into Genesis is still ongoing.
The U.S. Treasury Department in a statement announcing sanctions against the market called it “one of the most prominent brokers of stolen credentials and other sensitive information.”
British authorities said 17 countries were involved in the operation, which was led by the FBI and Dutch National Police and resulted in about 120 arrests, more than 200 searches, and almost 100 pieces of “preventative activity.”
Qintel did not immediately return messages seeking comment and Reuters could not immediately locate contact details for Genesis Market’s administrators, which the U.S. Treasury said were believed to operate from Russia.
Genesis specialized in the sale of digital products, especially “browser fingerprints” harvested from computers infected with malicious software, said Louise Ferrett, an analyst at British cybersecurity firm Searchlight Cyber.