The Increasing Cyber Crime:
With emerging technology, advancement and digitalization, cybercrime has been a very major concern. As per the report of Cybersecurity firm Mimecast, phishing or emails scams are the most prevalent type of attack, but another cybersecurity crime which has always been in highlights is buying and selling of stolen cards and their data. One such name which has been associated with this is Joker Stash. It was the internet’s largest marketplace for dealing in stolen card data. It was officially shut down on Feb 15, 2021.
Who is Joker Stash:
Millions of cards have been stolen from retailers, banks, payments companies and have been sold for cryptocurrencies on various platforms. Joker Stash the founder of one of the most well known carding marketplaces has made billions by dealing in this. He is a well known name in this industry. He retired with a fortune of over $1 billion.
Joker Stash and the Operations:
Jokes Stash became the largest online seller for stolen cards and data. This happened in just a span of six years, which is a short duration to become this big in name and numbers. The operations began in 2014 and the founder of joker stash announced that the site will be launched in two languages which are English and Russian. It became popular due to the volume and quality of the stolen cards which it offered. New cards from major business breaches were teased in advance and were given cryptic names.
Sales volume Analytics:
Joker Stash’s value can be estimated from the value of the payments of the cryptocurrencies in its wallet, as seen on blockchain. Just after one of its start, in 2015 $400 billion in bitcoin was sent to marketplaces with around annual sales of $139 million in 2018. Though the sales declined in the next two years due to the increased security of cards.
Joker Stash Retirement:
This sudden downfall in numbers was one of the main reasons that joker stash decided to retire. In the same year Stash notified the customers that he/she was down with corona virus and was taking a break. Later, in the month of December Interpol and FBI announced about seizing all the domains of the site, but as the servers were unaffected the site kept functioning through TOR mirrors.
Main Reasons Behind the Shutdown of Joker Stash:
Although the exact reason behind the shutdown is not very clear, but there have been several speculations behind the same, let’s see some of them:
- FBI and Interpol – The news of the shutdown came a few weeks after the FBI and interpol interfered and they seized their four main servers which were being used in connection with blockchain based domains.
- Unavailability of Data – Another trouble which Joker Stash started facing was sudden decline in stolen data which was being posted on the site. This led to customers complaining about the poor quality of card data.
- Stash’s Health Issues – The actor allegedly Joker Stash who was running the site claimed that he was suffering from Covid-19 and he was hospitalized for more than a week.
On January 15, the admins of Joker Stash said that the site would be closed by 15 February but Elliptic kept monitoring the portal and said that the site was turned offline on Feb 3, 2021.
Although covid was considered one major concern for the downfall, another major setback for Stash was when enforcement officials from the U.S. and Europe stepped in. On Dec 16, 2020 Interpol seized a number of its services. Even after this Stash set up a new infrastructure within a short period of time and the operations were ongoing till the retirement.
Net Worth of Joker Stash:
Several reports mention that Joker Stash made a good enough fortune by this illegal carding activity. Just before the retirement it was estimated that he had a whopping fortune of $1 billion in cryptocurrencies.
A retirement letter was released by the admins of Joker Stash which stated that “When we opened years ago, nobody knew us. Today we are one of the largest card/dumps marketplaces.” The admins also confirmed that the store’s stash will be open for around 30 more days and the customers should not get trapped by any other sites.
It has been claimed that Joker Stash has been one of the wealthiest cybercriminals till date. Although Joker Stash made billions from carding, such things are considered big cybercrimes and it is always advisable not to become a part of illegal trading activities. The admin of the site also gave a very important piece of advice for all the cybercriminals, “We also want to wish all young and mature ones cyber-gangsters not to lose themselves in the pursuit of easy money (sic),” the post concluded. “Remember, that even all the money in the world will never make you happy and that all the most truly valuable things in this life are free.”