Cybersecurity research company Gemini Advisory found that Joker’s Stash, a dark web carding marketplace will reportedly shut down by next month. Their blog carried a note from the infamous marketplace’s administrator who claimed that he was now retiring.
The reason behind the sudden decision to close the forum remains unknown. However, Gemini Advisory’s research team believed that the administrator of Joker’s Stash was an early advocate of Bitcoin who apparently held all proceeds in the asset. Amid the crypto’s rally, the alleged cybercriminal could have gained enough from the bull run that allowed the actor to retire.
According to a transcript, the administrator of the underground payment card forum claimed:
Joker goes on a well-deserved retirement. Joker’s Stash is closing. When we opened years ago, nobody knew us. Today we are one of the largest cards/dumps marketplace[s].
The operator even called out to “partners of Stash” to contact the actor to collect their payouts before “we leave forever.”
The marketplace has been operating since 2014, making it one of the oldest known dark web entities. Gemini Advisory claimed that over the years, Joker’s Stash generated about $1 billion in revenue. In 2020 alone, it allegedly added more than 40 million new records, and a bulk of these traced back to major cyber attacks.
The forum was facing trouble as darknet customers complained about the poor quality of stolen card data. A majority of these cards also “did not work.”
Other than a dwindling user list, Joker’s Stash was being pursued by US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), which seized its blockchain addresses in 2020. But, the forum’s operators were able to begin the site soon enough.
Additionally, the administrator or “Joker’’ claimed to pause the forum’s activities after falling sick from the coronavirus, which further impacted the site’s popularity.
But the end of the carding forum does not imply that such activities will stop with it. Moreover, even crackdowns on such marketplaces have had little impact on illicit dark web activities in the past. Researchers think that Joker’s Stash users may not be affected by this development and will continue to carry out their trade elsewhere.
Recently, another dark web market place that traded stolen card details among other illegal commodities was taken down. Germany’s central cybercrime authorities shut down the server of DarkMarket and now hold its operator in custody.