Largest carding marketplace Joker’s Stash announces shutdown
Dark web’s largest carding forum Joker’s Stash has announced it’s shutting down on February 15, 2021. Notorious for selling stolen card data, over the years Joker’s Stash has become one of the biggest marketplaces on the dark web.
After a rather turbulent year, dark web marketplace Joker’s Stash, operating since October 2014, has announced it’s shutting down on February 15, 2021. The message announcing the shutdown was posted by Joker’s Stash’s administrator (going by the name JokerStash) on a Russian-language cybercrime forum where the marketplace often advertised its services.
In a somewhat lengthy message, the administrator explained that they are going “on a well-deserved retirement” and are fully closing up shop. The marketplace would remain up for 30 more days in order to allow all users to spend their account balances but would be fully deleted in a month.
“We will leave the Stash opened for 30 more days, until 2021-02-15, so all Stash users can spend accounts balances. On 2021-02-15 we will wipe all our servers and backups and Joker will fade to dark, forever,” the message reads. The site’s administrator also stressed that all Stash partners would be getting their payouts.
The post warns that they are closing for good and will not be coming back, with the admin expressing that “WE WILL NEVER EVER OPEN AGAIN”. They also cautioned their customers to not trust “possible future imposters”.
“We are also want to wish all young and mature ones cyber-gangsters not to lose themselves in the pursuit of easy money. Remember, that even all the money in the world will never make you happy and that all the most truly valuable things in this life are free,” the admin’s message ends with another warning.
Turbulent year for Joker’s Stash
The post announcing the shutdown does not explain why they have made the decision but it likely has something to do with the rather rough time the marketplace has had the past year.
Threat intelligence company Intel 471 has said in a blog post that INTERPOL and the US Department of Justice allegedly seized a proxy server that was used in connection with the blockchain-based domains that belong to Joker’s Stash. At the time, the site’s operators reassured that the marketplace would return to normal once access was restored. Predictably, it didn’t take long for the marketplace to recover and soon it had moved to a new infrastructure to continue its operations.
Intel 471 also revealed that the marketplace’s operator contracted a serious form of COVID-19. After a week in hospital, the operator was able to recover but ultimately, his absence impacted the site’s forums, inventory replenishments and other operations. The blog post also mentions that the site’s clients have been complaining that the payment card quality has become quite poor.
“Joker’s Stash’s fall comes after a very turbulent close to 2020. In October, the actor who allegedly runs the site announced he had contracted COVID-19, spending a week in the hospital. The condition impacted the site’s forums, inventory replenishments and other operations. Intel 471 also observed the site’s clients complaining that the shop’s payment card data quality was increasingly poor,” Intel 471 explains.
Joker’s Stash is one of the oldest surviving dark net marketplaces, and has over the years grown to become arguably the biggest carding store. Gemini Advisory, a firm monitoring underground carding shops, has calculated that Joker’s Stash was able to generate more than $1 billion in revenue in the past couple of years alone. But Gemini notes that the black market economy will continue to function with little interruption, as cyber criminals will simply shift to other marketplaces.
“Given Joker’s Stash’s high profile, it relied on a robust network of criminal vendors who offered their stolen records on this marketplace, among others. Gemini assesses with a high level of confidence that these vendors are very likely to fully transition to other large, top-tier dark web marketplaces,” Gemini said.
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