The UK's Serious organised crime agency (Soca) has shut down 36 Web sites used to sell stolen card and bank account details and arrested two men accused of using them.
Soca says the sites all used e-commerce type platforms known as Automated Vending Carts (AVC's) allowing criminals to sell large quantities of stolen data quickly and easily.
After working with the FBI and US Department of Justice, the agency moved to shut down the sites, whose visitors are now directed to a screen saying that the Web domain has been seized by law enforcement.
Yesterday morning Soca also arrested two men suspected of making large scale purchases of compromised data from such sites. Meanwhile the UK's Dedicated Cheque & Plastic Crime Unit has seized computers suspected of being used to facilitate fraud and an AVC operator based in Macedonia has been arrested by local authorities acting on a Soca tip-off.
The agency estimates that, working with partners around the world, it has recovered over 2.5 million items of compromised personal and financial information over the past two years, passing them on to banks around the world to help prevent potential fraud.
Lee Miles, head, cyber operations, Soca, says: "Our activities have saved business, online retailers and financial institutions potential fraud losses estimated at more than half a billion pounds, and at the same time protected thousands of individuals from the distress caused by being a victim of fraud or identity crime."