One of the largest darknet marketplaces for selling identity data and stolen credit card information, Joker’s Stash retired last month after making off with a cool $1 billion in cryptocurrencies. Weeks ago, U.S. and European officials seized some of the web portal’s servers tied to Joker’s Stash site, but were unable to completely shut operations down.
Darknet Market Joker’s Stash Closes Shop
A number of reports indicate that the world’s largest darknet market (DNM), in terms of stolen credit card and identity sales, has called it quits after operating since 2014. Joker’s Stash explained in mid-January that the business would be closing shop in mid-February and it has followed through with the plan.
The blockchain analysis firm Elliptic detailed that the Joker’s Stash raked in more than $1 billion in cryptocurrencies during its tenure. Elliptic also revealed that the estimate was a conservative calculation based on the revenue Joker’s Stash took in during the years and all the fees.
On January 15, Joker’s Stash admins said the site would go dark on February 15, but Elliptic monitored the web portal and said the DNM went offline on February 3, 2021. Joker’s Stash had a lucky run up until 2020, when reports detailed that the owner of the DNM contracted the coronavirus and had to go to the hospital for seven days.
At the time, Joker’s Stash customers started complaining and having issues with card data and identification intel reliability. Both Krebs on Security and Gemini Advisory have published reports with a comprehensive analysis on the Joker’s Stash operations.
Covid-19 and Global Law Enforcement Push the Joker’s Stash Toward the Brink
Ever since the admin caught Covid-19 and the weeks that followed, Gemini Advisory said the business saw a “severe decline” in volumes. The image below, created by Gemini shows the decline in Joker’s Stash CNP and CP data toward the end of August 2020.
But Covid-19 wasn’t the only issue Joker’s Stash operation dealt with in 2020, as the law enforcement officials from Europe and the U.S. stepped in as well. Interpol and the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) seized a number of its servers on December 16, 2020. But much like The Pirate Bay, Joker’s Stash set up new infrastructure on the web and operations continued until the retirement announcement.
“Joker goes on a well-deserved retirement. Joker’s Stash is closing,” the farewell letter said. “When we opened years ago, nobody knew us. Today we are one of the largest card/dumps marketplaces.”
Admins promised to leave the store’s “Stash” open for 30 more days and told people not to fall for any phony websites that could appear in the future. In capital letters, Joker’s Stash said that it would “never open again.” Joker’s Stash made it clear that customers should not trust any imposters going forward.
The hoard Joker’s Stash obtained from payment card records stemmed from firms that saw large data breaches over the years. Gemini Advisory said that Joker’s Stash data came from high-profile hacks that saw the loss of massive amounts of confidential customer data.
Merchants caught in the hacker’s crossfires include Whole Foods, Saks Fifth Avenue, Hilton Hotels, Hy-Vee supermarkets, and Lord and Taylor.
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