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Reports emerged recently indicating that the Genesis Market, which was shut down in April, continues to operate successfully on the Darknet. Despite this, there has been a notable decrease in online criminal activity since the public version of Genesis Market was closed, a trend observed by researchers and law enforcement.
The hesitation among criminals to utilize the Darknet version of the site stems from their fear that it remains under the control of the FBI. There is a prevailing belief that the ongoing operations may be an elaborate bluff orchestrated by law enforcement.
Following the FBI’s Operation Cookie Monster, which targeted Genesis Market, one of the operators attempted to alleviate concerns among users. The operator claimed that the FBI’s actions were limited to seizing open web domains, asserting that the Darknet version of the market remains anonymous and secure.
However, doubts persist and are not easily dispelled. Of particular significance, the operator’s account was subsequently blocked by the forum’s administration, despite their assurance of continued use of the Genesis Market. This raises the possibility that the operator’s statements were a deliberate tactic or bait employed in the interest of law enforcement.
A Shaken Trust: The Fallout of Operation Cookie Monster on Genesis Market and its Darknet Competitors
Genesis Market stood out among its competitors as the leading platform for fraudsters. It provided a universal avenue for purchasing stolen credentials, enabling criminals to seamlessly utilize them through a specialized browser plug-in. This allowed them to browse the web as if they were accessing the victims’ computers directly, effectively circumventing security systems.
The FBI had previously announced that their experts had acquired information related to approximately 59,000 individual Genesis Market user accounts. This revelation sparked concerns among former users, who now worry that their cryptocurrency addresses and usernames could be exploited by law enforcement to uncover their true identities.
Both the FBI and cybersecurity researchers agree that Operation Cookie Monster dealt a significant blow to the trust criminals placed in Genesis Market, its administrators, and similar platforms like Russian Market and 2easy Shop. However, it is expected that criminal activity will eventually rebound over time. Consequently, we can only extend our best wishes to the FBI in their continued efforts to dismantle other participants in the Darknet market.