Massive cybercrime ring is smashed

A two-year undercover FBI sting operation targeting online fraudsters has netted 56 arrests and prevented millions of dollars in economic losses.

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An international criminal website used to trade credit card details and online banking details has been shut down after a police operation in the UK, US, Germany and Turkey.

Almost 60 arrests have been made including people in Manchester, Hull and London over the Dark Market site, which the Serious Organised Crime Agency said was "a one-stop shop" for criminals.

The criminal exchange operated on an invitation only basis and the site had moer than 2,500 registered members when it was shut down.

Sharon Lemon, deputy director of SOCA said, "These aren't geeks. These are serious and organised criminals.

The arrests follow a two-year undercover FBI-led sting operation. In addition to the drawing the 56 arrests, the sting helped the FBI seize compromised accounts and prevent the loss of about $70m in fraud, the FBI said. It has also generated new leads that are being tracked down by international law enforcement.

Although Dark Market was thought to have been administered by a criminal going by the name Master Splyntr, German Public Radio reported on Monday that the FBI had been running a sting operation on the site since late 2006, and that Master Splyntr was actually an FBI agent named J. Keith Mularski.

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