19 Charged Worldwide In Global Cybercrime Investigation of the xDedic Marketplace

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19 Charged Worldwide In Global Cybercrime Investigation of the xDedic Marketplace

Last week, the United States Department of Justice and IRS-Criminal Investigation announced charges against 19 individuals around the world in the culmination of a massive transnational crime investigation involving the xDedic Marketplace. 

According to court documents, the xDedic Marketplace was a website on the dark web that illegally sold usernames,  passwords, access to servers, and personally identifiable information to buyers worldwide. Once purchased, criminals used this stolen information to facilitate a wide range of illegal activity that included tax fraud and ransomware attacks against a wide range of victims including local, state, and federal government infrastructure, hospitals, 911 and emergency services, call centers, major metropolitan transit authorities, accounting and law firms, pension funds, and universities.

The xDedic administrators, according to DOJ, practiced excellent operational security, operating the website across a widely distributed international network, and utilizing cryptocurrency in order to hide the locations of the Marketplace’s underlying servers and the identities of its administrators, sellers, and buyers.

xDedic received millions of dollars worth of bitcoin between 2017 and 2019, including many transactions from VASPS, peer-to-peer marketplaces, and other money service businesses

In January 2019, prosecutors from the Middle District of Florida, working closely with Europol and law enforcement authorities in Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany and Ukraine, seized xDedic’s domain names and dismantled the website’s infrastructure, effectively ceasing its operation. 

Following the takedown, authorities investigated and charged individuals involved in every level of the website’s operation, including its administrators, server sellers, and buyers.

The takedown and arrests associated with xDedic were the result of a massive international effort which required close coordination and collaboration between authorities in Belgium, Georgia, Germany, Poland, Spain, the United Kingdom, Romania, Switzerland, Estonia, Latvia, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Lithuania, and Moldova. These cases were led by IRS-Criminal Investigation and the FBI’s Tampa Division with support from the DOJ's Office of International Affairs and Homeland Security Investigations.

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