The blockchain domains of Joker’s Stash, a popular underground marketplace for stolen payment card data, have been seized by law enforcement.
On December 17, the shop’s website displayed an image claiming that the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation and Interpol had seized it.
Joker’s Stash is an automated vending cart (AVC) that had several versions of the site up and running, including blockchain domains .bazar, .lib, .emc, and coin, and two Tor (.onion) domains. The takedown attempt, Digital Shadows reports, only resulted in the .bazar domain becoming unavailable.
What the two law enforcement agencies apparently managed to do was to seize proxy servers that were used in connection with the Joker’s Stash blockchain domains.
Following the action, Joker’s Stash operators decided to take the site down completely, but took it to Russian-language carding forum Club2CRD to provide clarifications on the issue, revealing that no “shop data” was present on the affected server.
The representatives of the carding site also revealed that they were working on creating new servers to move the site to, promising the marketplace would be completely functional within days. The Tor versions of the portal were not affected by seizure.
A decentralized system for top-level domains, Blockchain DNS technology provides multiple security advantages, but also makes it more difficult to target domains that use it, as they are no longer regulated by a central authority.
Joker’s Stash, Digital Shadows explains, has been using Blockchain DNS since July 2017. Following last week’s action, Joker’s Stash’s blockchain domains (.bazar, .lib, .emc, and .coin) started displaying a “Server Not Found” error. The Tor domains, however, remained accessible.
“Generally speaking, if the Joker’s Stash takedown was a coordinated law enforcement operation, it’s likely that the law enforcement banner would remain in place to demonstrate that other Blockchain DNS services aren’t untouchable. On the other hand, it’s possible that law enforcement thought they had taken the entire Joker’s Stash service offline, rather than just one component, and quickly removed the banner after finding out that this was not the case,” Digital Shadows points out.
Intel 471’s security researchers believe that, provided that law enforcement indeed seized Joker’s Stash servers, the marketplace would be able to quickly restore its services.
The researchers also point out that the marketplace has had a difficult time lately, with the threat actor who runs it getting infected with COVID-19 and customers complaining about the poor quality of the shop’s payment card data. One of the most popular cybercriminal shops, the portal might lose its position as “a preferred home of criminal activity,” Intel 471 notes.
“It’s apparent that major intrusions resulting in valuable stock for sale across his shop has taken a bit of a dive over the last year. This could be a result of many things, from the pandemic to the massive shift of many cybercriminals to ransomware, where significantly less effort can lead to marginally higher profits,” Intel 471 VP of Intelligence Mike DeBolt commented.