I.D. Trading Site Run by FBI

Christopher Karwowski
PITTSBURGH, Pa. — Hacker trading site DarkMarket.ws was the first place to go to sell and trade identities stolen online. The site, purportedly run by an Eastern European hacker named "Master Splynter" was, in fact, an elaborate front for the FBI's attempt to crack down on online fraud, according to a Wired News report.

DarkMarket.ws was a meeting place for an elite group of English-speaking identity hackers for the previous two years. Through the efforts of a German public radio station, Südwestrundfunk, however, the identity of the man and organization behind the site became known. The FBI agent is identified in the documents as J. Keith Mularski, an agent based at the National Cyber Forensics Training Alliance in Pittsburgh.

DarkMarket allowed visitors to purchase various information resulting from phishing and other online scam tactics.

The sting operation also involved online credit card processor E-Gold. The FBI used the company's records to crosscheck the identities of suspected users of the DarkMarket website.

The staff of the website included another hacker, known as "Cha0." His involvement in the site began to fade after he reportedly kidnapped and tortured a police informant, according to the Wired article. He was arrested in Turkey last month, where police identified him as Cagatay Evyapan.