back to article DarkMarket carder forum revealed as FBI sting

Leaked documents have confirmed that carder forum DarkMarket was actually an FBI sting operation. For the last two years until its shutdown earlier this month posed as a forum where identity thieves, credit card fraudsters, crackers and other ne'er do wells could hang out and exchange tips as well as trading …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    And a hearty thank you goes out... the tits at Südwestrundfunk. Freedom of the press doesn't mean you *have* to fuck up everything you stumble upon. Epic fail...

  2. Jonathan


    Agreed, lets thank them for alerting fraudsters to the sting. Great going guys, I hope you get scammed.

  3. TeeCee Gold badge

    No need to be so hard on 'em.

    Sounds like they were in the process of shutting it down anyway. Who knows when the paper really obtained this info and how long they may have sat on it at the behest of law enforcement until it was all moot anyway. It's entirely possible that they had some vague, but not hard, evidence some time back and were given the inside info as a scoop in exchange for holding fire for a while.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Stings are evil

    It's a stone's throw from there to entrapment.

    Media should blow the cover on these as often as possible.

    The idea is that police should work to uncover evidence, not trick people into incriminating themselves using lies and deceit.

    Maybe I'm just old fashioned.

  5. Simon C
    Black Helicopters

    @AC "Stings are evil"

    Thats probably whats wrong, there isnt ENOUGH stings or entrapment.

    If you as a thieving scumbag incriminate yourself by falling into a well laid trap, then dont let the jail door hit you on the ass on your way inside.

    Funnily enough as a decent not 100% law abiding citizen, my details wont be recorded by the feds for this sting, because I have no need to look for card scanning tips....

    Im on the side of the feds with this one...(for once).

  6. Chris
    Paris Hilton

    Re: AC - Stings are evil

    "Media should blow the cover on these as often as possible."

    Sorry, I don't agree for something like this. The only people actively participating on a forum such as that are going to be active / wannabe scammers.

    Doesn't mean I agree with stings / entrapment in the majority of cases, but in this case, the cover should never have been blown.

    However, if the FBI were that good, the cover would never have been blown anyway!

    Paris, coz talking about being blown somehow made me think of her....

  7. Aaron

    Re: stings &c.

    At least here in the good ol' U. S. of A., it only counts as entrapment if the criminal behavior happens at an officer's instigation; the reasoning seems to be that, if you were going to commit the crime anyway, you don't get to complain if your intended accomplice or victim turns out to be a cop instead -- which seems reasonable to me, and I'd be very interested to hear arguments to the contrary.

    Of course, that's all based on the idea that the US has a trustworthy judicial and law-enforcement system, which is absolutely true as long as you're rich enough to thoroughly hide your crimes. Ignoring, then, for the moment, the fact that this is also a law-enforcement system whose members are fast becoming notorious for extrajudicial torture and murder via "less-lethal" devices intended to produce "pain compliance", I have no sympathy at all for petty thieves who've just found out that they're not as smart or as careful or as lucky as they think they are. Getting busted is kind of an occupational hazard when you're a criminal, and if the people doing the busting aren't much higher in my estimation, then at least they've managed not to fuck up and be evil *this* time, and that's probably the best we'll ever reasonably be able to expect.

  8. Thomas Baker

    A few have beaten me to the punch.

    Entrapment. The site by its very existence is entrapment due to the fact that it provides a marketplace and a forum for people to exchange ideas and merchandise. You could argue that someone with access to sensitive data, credit cards, etc - or - a hacker/programmer who was thinking about getting into it - would reasonably argue: "What's the point?" - "There's no market" - "Where would I sell the information I gathered?" - "How would I learn better ways of doing it?"

    This site has not only facilitated the dissemination of information that could help someone commit a crime but has also provided a market-place they could use to sell that information. Remember the laws of supply and demand?

    No fence/method of getting rid of stolen property = no point in stealing anything.

    No resource for sharing/swapping techniques = no-one gets more clued up than when they started.

    Entrapment is any crime that might not have taken place without a deliberate act by the police to mitigate that crime. You can't catch someone doing something on a site that perhaps they wouldn't have been doing had that site not existed.

    Icon just 'cause it's still wigging me out...

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Some stings are OK...

    I don't have a problem with this sort of sting, as it catches morons who are defrauding people out of their hard-earned money, which could include any of us. Where I have a problem with stings is when they're designed to protect people from themselves, such as prostitution or drug stings. Not that I think either of those things are good ideas, but I think people who are free should have a right to be stupid as long as it has a relatively minimal effect on others.

  10. Graham Marsden

    @Stings are evil

    > Maybe I'm just old fashioned.

    Maybe you're just misinformed.

    Entrapment is where a law enforcement officer or agency actively *encourages* people to commit crimes.

    A sting is where they allow criminals to commit crimes so they can be arrested.

    For example them saying "Go on, steal that car with the window open" is illegal, but leaving a car unattended with the window open that turns out to lock itself when someone tries to nick it is entirely legal.

    Unless someone from the Law Enforcement community on DarkMarket actually instigated any criminal behaviour, then I have no problem with them simply making it easy for crooks to incriminate themselves.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I suspect .....

    That some/most of those protesting the sting would also take a dim view of reverse scamming 419 scumbags.......

  12. Robert Hill
    Thumb Up

    @Graham Marsden

    Nice definition of the difference between entrapment and sting.

    I can't believe that there are people that actually believe that this represents the FBI doing "bad" things. Not that the FBI hasn't done things that are closer to entrapment than this, but this in particular seems like nothing more than a "honeypot" mechanism as used in network defense.

    Let's just hope that a whole bunch of bad bees got trapped...

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hmmm BBC article is interesting

    "And they can vary. You can be the beginner who can go onto the site, get a tutorial and start your life of crime." Quote Sharon Lemon Serious Organised Crime Agency

    They were handing out directions.

    Well, now that is entrapment when you look at it like that. What next, Fagin was really working for the Peelers.

    I think these things are wrong, and only encourage bad activity, suspicion of others, and the real threats to get even more savvy. I would prefer to see better security, and fewer centralized databases, stop it at source before it becomes a problem rather then encouraging the activity and grabbing it at the end.

  14. Ralph B
    Black Helicopters

    Sting Stung?

    The Beeb are today reporting that Darkmarket has been shutdown in a police "swoop".


    No mention of it being an FBI sting site.

    "Nearly 60 people connected with the site have been arrested in Manchester, Hull and London, as well as Germany, Turkey and the US."

    I can only assume that the US arrestees are not FBI operatives.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Research, anyone?

    One way to keep ahead of the Bad Guys is to read the same stuff they do - if you know what tricks they are pulling, you know what to look for so you don't get caught.

    Writers (novelists, scriptwriters and anyone else of a similar persuasion) often want accuracy in their works - does knowing how to burgle a property make them a villain? Does knowing how to mix chmicals to make small bangs and nasty smells make someone a terrorist?

    Just because someone gives you a loaded gun does not mean you have to go rob a corner store or mug an old lady - there's plenty of places to go shoot a few paper targets or dead tin cans...

  16. david

    Lost in the translation???

    BBC say the site was _infiltrated_ by the FBI.

    That's a bit differemt to being _run_ by the FBI.

    I'm inclined to believe the beeb version over the Sudwestrundfunk version (or, dare I say it the El Reg version).

    Mind you if I'd been ripped off while the filth were allowing iit to run in order to collect evidence, I'd be one pissed off little punter...

  17. Anonymous Coward

    re: Research, anyone?

    >> does knowing how to burgle a property make them a villain?

    you obviously haven't been studying laws brought in by the UK's government - having notes on how to commit a terrorist attack can get you on charges of having material likely to aid terrorists which will obviously only be applied to terrorists like Icelandic companies, so how long before knowing how to burgle a property is squeezed into the fold

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