The “Cookie Monster” operation has successfully caught the notorious online marketplace for stolen data, “Genesis,” with the help of law enforcement agencies across the globe.
In the massive fight against cybercrime, security forces carried out the “Cookie Monster” operation to seize Genesis Market, a hub for digital browser fingerprints and leaked data. As a result of the operation, almost 120 people were detained and 200 searches were conducted worldwide.
What was Genesis Market all about?
Genesis Market was one of the most active initial access brokers (IABs) that ransomware developers typically sought for access before launching an attack.
According to the DOJ, Genesis Market had distinctive features as a darknet market. Third-party websites were deceived into believing that the Genesis Market user was the account owner, and the mix of stolen access credentials, fingerprints, and cookies allowed buyers to assume the victim’s identity.
What is the situation now?
While the overall financial loss is yet to be determined, the FBI estimates that Genesis earned at least $8.7 million, and the total losses suffered by victims likely reached tens of millions of dollars.
The shutdown of Genesis Market by authorities dealt a severe blow to cybercriminals who had been exploiting it to sell stolen data worldwide. According to the US Department of Justice, over 80 million account login credentials were obtained from more than 1.5 million hacked systems worldwide and made available on the market since its appearance in 2018.
The seizure of Genesis Market and the arrests of its users serve as a reminder that law enforcement authorities worldwide take cybercrime seriously and are actively working to stop illicit operations.
However, cybersecurity professionals caution that the shutdown of Genesis Market may lead users and vendors to switch to other markets or start new ones.