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xDedic Marketplace Members Detained In International Operations – Gridinsoft Blog | #cybercrime | #infosec

The infamous xDedic Marketplace, known for its illicit trade in compromised computers and personal data, has been effectively dismantled. 19 persons related to the marketplace were detained. The overall operation is the result of joint effort of law enforcement from 11 countries.

xDedic’s Actors Face US Courts

Although the actual seizure of xDedic happened almost 5 years ago, in 2019, the overall process of its members’ detainment took quite some time. The diverse nationalities of the charged defendants posed a unique challenge, as many hailed from countries that do not extradite their nationals. However, diligent efforts led to the charging and/or extradition of 17 defendants to the United States.

The extensive investigation was spearheaded by the Tampa Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. It also involved the Tampa Field Office of Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation. Assistance was provided by various international and national agencies, highlighting the importance of global cooperation in combating cybercrime. The cases are currently being prosecuted by 3 Assistant United States Attorneys.

What is xDedic?

xDedic was a notorious online marketplace on the dark web, known for selling compromised computer credentials. These credentials included usernames and passwords. It facilitated the illegal sale of access to over 700,000 hacked servers worldwide. These servers included those in government, healthcare, and transportation sectors. Cybercriminals used xDedic to buy credentials to servers, enabling them to commit various illegal activities like ransomware attacks. The site was known for its sophisticated operational security and use of cryptocurrency, making it difficult to track the identities of its users and the locations of its servers.

Stolen Credentials on xDedic Marketplace for Sale

Seizure of xDedic

The turning point in this saga came in January 2019 when the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida, in collaboration with international law enforcement agencies, seized xDedic’s domain names and dismantled its infrastructure. This operation, which involved authorities from Belgium, Ukraine, Europol, the Dutch National Police, and the German Bundeskriminalamt, effectively ended the marketplace’s operations​​.

Following the marketplace’s shutdown, efforts shifted towards bringing those responsible to justice. Nineteen individuals have been charged in connection with the marketplace, facing a range of offenses from cyber fraud to money laundering. The charges reflect the seriousness of the crimes associated with the xDedic marketplace.

High-profile figures like Alexandru Habasescu and Pavlo Kharmanskyi, administrators of xDedic, were apprehended and sentenced to prison. Habasescu, the technical brain behind xDedic, was arrested in the Spanish Canary Islands, while Kharmanskyi was detained at the Miami International Airport. Other significant arrests included Dariy Pankov, who was a major seller on the site. Also arrested was Allen Levinson, a prolific buyer with a specific interest in U.S.-based Certified Public Accounting firms.

Recommendations and future outlook

The shutdown of xDedic Marketplace was a significant victory in the ongoing battle against cybercrime. Significant, but not the turning point: numerous other marketplaces appeared afterwards, including infamous Breached Forums, Genesis and RaidForums. When the servers are shut down, but the actors remain free, that is just the matter of time when and where they will be back into business.

When we talk about the detainment of those actors, things are obviously different. This not only proves that it is impossible to be safe and commit cybercrimes, it also shows that even a 5 year term is not long enough to avoid the punishment. Will this work as a stop sign for others? Not likely, but they will barely miss that info either.

xDedic Marketplace Members Detained In International Operations

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