Group-IB, a Russian cybersecurity company, has revealed that there has been a new bundle of credit card data available for sale on the dark web.
The report indicates that these credit card details—mostly stolen from Pakistan-based banks—are being advertised to interested buyers in three collections.
The hackers reportedly availed the credit card details on Joker’s Stash, a popular darknet market for this type of data.
Group-IB claimed that the data has been available on this market since late-January.
The three dumps of credit card data have different combinations of hacked personal information.
These details assist perpetrators in withdrawing money from their victims’ bank accounts.
The buyers of these details can also create cloned credit cards and use them to make payments or withdrawals.
Furthermore, the cybercriminals may choose to use these details to start new fake companies.
The owners of the dummy companies then use the cloned cards to buy non-existence items through POS terminals.
When they receive the payments, they withdraw the money through ATMs. This way, the banks cannot suspect their activities.
Pakistani Bank Users Affected the Most
Two of the three dumps reported by Group-IB include information belonging to Pakistani users.
These dumps did not contain much information regarding the users. However, it was enough for the buyers to access the victims’ accounts.
According to Group-IB, the two dumps contained credit card information belonging to a total of 69,189 Pakistanis.
The firm also confirmed that 96 percent of the hacked information belonged to customers of Meezan Bank in Pakistan.
The head Group-IB’s research department, Dmitry Shestakov, reported that the fact that most of this information had a linkage to a specific institution was a sign that the hack may have been part of a bigger crime.
Shestakov suspected that the perpetrator might have been a highly skilled hacker gaining the data from within Pakistan.
Meezan Bank, however, was not willing to accept the allegations that it was under attack.
The bank replied to a post on Facebook that had attempted to acquire information regarding the hacks.
According to Meezan, it could not confirm what it termed “rumors” about the incident. The bank further assured its customers that their details and money were safe.
The Data Sale
According to Group-IB, the initial sale was on January 24. The first bunch contained the details of 1,535 credit cards. Out of these cards, 1,457 came from Meezan Bank.
The subsequent batch came in on January 30. This time, the number of credit cards had risen to 67,654, 96 percent of which belonged to customers of Meezan Bank.
The vendor advertised the details in the second collection on other markets besides Joker’s Stash. These forums include Enclave, Crdclub and Omerta.
The hacker managed to access the PIN codes to the credit cards. Therefore, their selling price was quite high.
The regular selling price for credit card information on hacking sites is between $10 and $40. These particular details, nevertheless, cost $50 for each card. The total value for the information, therefore, is $3.5 million.
Bank Card Hacking & Cybercrime in Pakistan
The latest instance is among the few times when hackers have targeted Pakistani bank card information.
The previous attack on the country’s banks, however, took place quite recently, in November 2018. This time, the hackers targeted almost all Pakistani banks.
Group-IB reported that hackers had accessed data from Pakistani private banks and were selling it on the dark web.
Over 100 victims reported cyberattack incidences to the Federal Investigative Agency in Pakistan. The FIA director, Mohammad Shoaib, stated that several suspects were under arrest.
Shoaib also indicated that there were more than 20,000 victims of the attack, and the total number of affected banks was 22.
Furthermore, in 2017, more than 500 bank users in the country lost their money to hackers. The attackers targeted the victims’ ATM cards.
The FIA reported that the hacks involved the use of skimming devices, which the cybercriminals placed on ATMs. The hack affected Habib Bank Limited, which discovered bugs on four of its ATMs.
The company, however, assured the customers that it would re-check all the ATMs to remove all the bugs. Furthermore, the bank promised to reimburse the victims and replace their debit cards.
A similar cybercrime incident had also taken place earlier that year. It involved Chinese hackers who had allegedly used skimming devices on several ATMs. The Pakistani authorities arrested these suspects.
Following the ATM hacks, the FIA advised banks to stop using obsolete technology as it was exposing them to frequent attacks.
The rate at which cybercrimes are taking place in Pakistan is an indication that the local banks need to be more vigilant in protecting their customers’ information.
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