‘MegaSearch’ Aims to Index Fraud Site Wares

A new service aims to be the Google search of underground Web sites, connecting buyers to a vast sea of shops that offer an array of dodgy goods and services, from stolen credit card numbers to identity information and anonymity tools.

MegaSearch results for BIN #423953

A glut of data breaches and stolen card numbers has spawned dozens of stores that sell the information. The trouble is that each shop requires users to create accounts and sign in before they can search for cards.

Enter MegaSearch.cc, which lets potential buyers discover which fraud shops hold the cards they’re looking for without having to first create accounts at each store. This free search engine aggregates data about compromised payment cards, and points searchers to various fraud shops selling them.

According to its creator, the search engine does not store the compromised card numbers or any information about the card holders. Instead, it works with card shop owners to index the first six digits of all compromised account numbers that are for sale.  These six digits, also known the “Bank Identification Number” — or BIN — identify which bank issued the cards. Searching by BIN, MegaSearch users are given links to different fraud shops that are currently selling cards issued by the corresponding bank.

I first read about this offering in a blog post by RSA Fraud Action Research Labs. It didn’t take much time poking around a few hacker boards to find the brains behind MegaSearch pitching his idea to the owners of different fraud shops. He agreed to discuss his offering with me via instant message, using the search service as his screen name.

“I’m standing on a big startup that is going to be [referred to as] the ‘underground Google,’” MegaSearch told KrebsOnSecurity. “Many users spend a lot of time looking [through] shops, and I thought why not make that convenient?”

The service currently indexes compromised BINs from five different card shops, although he said several more shops are close to completing their integration with MegaSearch. He acknowledged garnering a small advertising fee for each relationship, although he repeatedly declined to discuss the particulars of those arrangements. But he said both sides benefit: stolen card data grows less reliable with age, and fraud shops that are indexed by MegaSearch stand a better chance of clearing their inventory faster, the hacker argues.

MegaSearch said that when his site first launched at the end of 2011 and began indexing the five card shops he’s now tracking, those shops had some 360,000 compromised accounts for sale, collectively. Since then, those shops have moved more than 200,000 cards. The search engine currently has indexed 352,000 stolen account numbers that are for sale right now in the underground.

According to BIN search stats published on the site, Citibank cards are the most sought-after, followed by cards issued by FIA Card Services, Capital One and Chase.

In the coming weeks, he said, the site will include new features that index other types of criminal wares, including Social Security numbers and proxies — addresses of hacked PCs that paying clients can use as a relay to anonymize their online communications.

“I’m about to add more services to that site that would help newbie underground, including proxies, stolen identity information, etc.,” MegaSearch told me. “I’m also going to add a survey [to rate] the best shop.”

2011 has been called the Year of the Data Breach. If services like MegaSearch are indicative of a trend, 2012 may well become known as the year the criminal underground started getting a clue about how to better index and use all of its stolen data.

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