Hackers leak data from dark web marketplace

Dark web person with code for a face
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Security researchers have discovered that hackers have attacked Swarmshop, a dark web marketplace specializing in selling stolen payment card information, and leaked over 600,000 payment card records.

According to a new report by cyber security firm Group-IB, the leak contained virtually all of Swarmshop’s user data. Researchers believe the leak initially occurred on March 17.

The leak exposed 12,344 records, including the card shop’s admins, sellers, and buyers. The leaked data included nicknames, hashed passwords, contact details, activity history, and current balance.

The database also exposed all compromised data traded on the website, including 623,036 payment card records issued by the banks from the US, Canada, UK, China, Singapore, France, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, and Mexico, 498 sets of online banking account credentials, and 69,592 sets of US Social Security Numbers and Canadian Social Insurance Numbers leaked too.

Swarmshop has been in operation since at least April 2019. By March 2021, it had over 12,000 users and over 600,000 payment card records for sale. Group-IB said the total amount deposited on all the accounts was at $18,145.73 by March 2021.

Hackers who breached the site didn’t divulge how the hack happened. Instead, they posted a message with a link to the database. However, one clue showed that two card shop users attempted to inject a malicious script searching for website vulnerabilities in the contact information field.

“It’s impossible to determine if the two events are connected to the breach,” said researchers.

Researchers said this isn’t the first time cyber criminals have targeted Swarmshop. In January, hackers leaked the card shop’s records on an underground forum.

They added that the hacker was likely motivated by revenge and wanted to sell the Swarmshop user database. The hacker also posted a screenshot allegedly from the card shop’s admin panel.

Dmitry Volkov, Group-IB CTO, said that while underground forums get hacked from time to time, card shop breaches do not happen very often.

“In addition to buyers’ and sellers’ data, such breaches expose massive amounts of compromised payment and personal information of regular users,” he said. “Although the source remains unknown, it must be one of those revenge hacks cases. This is a major reputation hit for the card shop as all the sellers lost their goods and personal data. The shop is unlikely to restore its status.”

Rene Millman

Rene Millman is a freelance writer and broadcaster who covers cybersecurity, AI, IoT, and the cloud. He also works as a contributing analyst at GigaOm and has previously worked as an analyst for Gartner covering the infrastructure market. He has made numerous television appearances to give his views and expertise on technology trends and companies that affect and shape our lives. You can follow Rene Millman on Twitter.