Posted on October 29, 2022 at 11:34 AM
A U.K. national has been charged for operating a dark web platform known as “The Real Deal.” The marketplace specializes in transactions on stolen login credentials and hacking tools.
Daniel Kaye, 37, has been arraigned by a U.S. court and charged with one count of money laundering conspiracy and five counts charges of access device fraud. Before his arrest, he has been using different pseudonyms to protect his identity, which includes UserL0ser, Bestbuy, Spdrman, and Popopret. He was indicted in April last year before consenting to be extradited from Cyprus to the U.S. last month.
U.S. Attorney Ryan Buchanan said the defendant allegedly operated an illegal website while living overseas. He added that the defendant provided the login credentials and hacking tools, and made them available for purchase. The credentials also included those from U.S. government agencies.
The Marketplace Sells Illegal Resources
According to court documents, the Real Deal, which was shut down in 2016, was functioning as a marketplace for illegal items. These include bank accounts, stolen account logins for U.S. government computers, as well as account details of social media platforms such as LinkedIn and Twitter.
Additionally, the portal contained other information obtained through illicit means. According to the court document, the portal contained stolen personal data, credit card information, illegal drugs, hacking tools, botnets, and weapons listed on the platform by vendors.
Some of the stolen U.S. government credentials found on the marketplace were allegedly sold by Kaye. They contained information from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration, and the U.S. Postal Service.
Kaye was also accused of collaborating with other people with the pseudonym, ”the dark overlord” to sell victims’ Social Security Numbers. Additionally, they also launder the crypto proceeds of the sale via mixing services like Bitmixerto to obscure any trail of the money.
Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta, Keri Farley, stated that the case is evidence of the agency’s commitment to work with its international partners to hold criminals accountable irrespective of the sophistication of their tools or attacking methods. The agency is also determined to bring perpetrators to face justice no matter the geographical location they committed the crime from, Farley added.
The Indictment Is A Warning To Cyber Criminal
The Real Deal allowed independent merchants to sell their illegally obtained items on the platform, where customers access vendors based on their authenticity.
According to reports on the matter, Kaye ran the Real Deal for almost a year and disappeared in August shortly after it was revealed that some administrators on the platform have been arrested and detained.
Farley stated that the indictment should serve as a warning that the FBI and its partners place a high priority on the investigation and prosecution of cyber criminals who intrude on the U.S. infrastructure and threaten the personal security of its citizens.
U.S. Agencies Intensify Efforts To Convict Hackers And Fraudsters
Before the indictment, Kay had been previously arrested by the U.K. law enforcement authorities in February 2017. After being convicted for a hacking incident on an African phone company, he was sent to jail for 32 months in January 2019.
The court documents also revealed that Kaye operated a botnet using an updated Mirai variant that spread through zero-day exploits. In a series of Tweets, security researcher Marcus Hutchins stated that some of the DDoS attacks delivered by the defendant were peaking at more than 1 terabyte per second (tbs).
The incident, of which he was convicted in 2019 was a cyber attack on a Liberian telecoms business which resulted in a disruption of the country’s internet for several days.
CNN reported at the time that Kaye was hired by a top employee at Cellcom, a rival company in the same geographical market. But it was not clear whether members of the executives were aware of the hacking plan.
The U.S. government has continued to lead the fight against online threat actors. While some of these hackers operate individually, others are sponsored by rival governments to steal critical information from special organizations.
The U.S. agency stated that more people will be convicted as the agency intensifies efforts to protect citizens from online fraudsters. Earlier this month, a former chief security officer for Uber was convicted for making payments to hackers who bridged the ride-hailing company in 2016.