Takedown Nets Millions of Stolen Bank Cards: Holiday Season Hacking Ring Dismantled

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In a coordinated takedown involving cybersecurity authorities from 17 countries, a sophisticated international hacking ring was successfully dismantled for breaching online stores and pilfering customer data for sale on the dark web.

The operation, led by Greek counterparts, prevented further harm to millions of unsuspecting online shoppers during the recent holiday season.

This cybercriminal operation thrived during online retailers' busiest time of year, capitalizing on the surge in online transactions. Between January and November 2023, a staggering 119 million bank cards worldwide were compromised, leading to an average charge of €71.5 per card and totalling over €9 billion in losses for banks, according to Ekathimerini.

This cybercriminal operation thrived during online retailers' busiest time of year, capitalizing on the surge in online transactions. Between January and November 2023, a staggering 119 million bank cards worldwide were compromised, leading to an average charge of €71.5 per card and totalling over €9 billion in losses for banks, according to Ekathimerini.

The exact number of compromised e-shops in Greece remains unknown, but experts warn that this type of digital fraud can remain undetected for extended periods. This invisibility stems from consumers' difficulty in identifying any red flags during their transactions.

While a new online store offering branded products at incredibly low prices might raise suspicion, established e-shops can also become victims if hackers exploit vulnerabilities in their programming code or third-party applications.

According to Europol, the hackers infiltrated the targeted e-shops' systems and servers, embedding malware into their payment systems. This malware allowed them to clone transaction data, creating a vast database of compromised bank card details. These stolen credentials were then sold on the dark web, putting millions of consumers at risk of financial loss and identity theft.

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