UniCC - Dark Web's Largest Marketplace for Stolen Credit Cards Will Close Shop
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UniCC, the dark web’s largest marketplace for stolen credit cards will close shop. An announcement by anonymous operators of UniCC in a farewell posted on dark web carding forums stated, “Don’t build any conspiracy theories about us leaving. It is [a] weighted decision, we are not young and our health do[es] not allow [us] to work like this any longer.”

This decision will lead to the shutting down of the platform after earning $358 million in purchases since 2013 using cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ether, and Dash. UniCC operators have given its users 10 days to spend their balances and warned them not to follow any fakes tied to our comeback.

UniCC and similar platforms operate as an underground marketplace offering payment card details stolen from online retailers, banks, and payments companies by injecting malicious skimmers that are traded in exchange for cryptocurrency. These cards are used by criminal actors to purchase high-value items or gift cards.

According to researchers at Elliptic, “This process is known as ‘carding,’ and it has become a key part of the cybercriminal’s playbook. The technique is very profitable in its own right, but it is also used to help launder and cash-out cryptocurrency obtained through other types of cybercrime.”

Earlier in January 2021, Joker’s Stash, the previous market leader, retired after facilitating the sale of nearly $400 million in stolen cards. Leading to UniCC grabbing nearly 30% market share.

UniCC is an addition to the growing number of criminal marketplaces being voluntarily shut down, this includes White House Market, Cannazon, and Torrez. Monopoly Market also became inaccessible early this month and was suspected to be an exit scam. 

The business of stolen credit card data has turned out to be a lucrative operation with sales surpassing 1.4 billion just in Bitcoin. Keeping the new entrant interested and filling the vacuum left by nonfunctioning criminal entities similar to the ever-evolving ransomware landscape.

All World Cards, which emerged on the scene in May 2021, has grabbed attention by leaking data for one million credit cards plundered between 2018 and 2019 on a cybercrime forum for free.

Most of the cards distributed were from the State Bank of India, Banco Santander, and Sutton Bank.

The researcher added, “The wave of recent departures has potentially been a trigger for UniCC’s retirement, as illicit actors see an opportunity in the turbulence to either run away with users’ funds or retire to avoid increased law enforcement attention.” 

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