Up for the “Most Meta Cybercrime Offering” award this year is Accountz Club, a new cybercrime store that sells access to purloined accounts at services built for cybercriminals, including shops peddling stolen payment cards and identities, spamming tools, email and phone bombing services, and those selling authentication cookies for a slew of popular websites.
Criminals ripping off other crooks is a constant theme in the cybercrime underworld; Accountz Club’s slogan — “the best autoshop for your favorite shops’ accounts” — just normalizes this activity by making logins stolen from users of various cybercrime shops for sale at a fraction of their account balances.
The site says it sells “cracked” accounts, or those that used passwords which could be easily guessed or enumerated by automated tools. All of the credentials being sold by Accountz provide access to services that in turn sell access to stolen information or hijacked property, as in the case of “bot shops” that resell access to infected computers.
One example is Genesis Market, where customers can search for stolen credentials and authentication cookies from a broad range of popular online destinations. Genesis even offers a custom-made web browser where you can load authentication cookies from botted PCs and waltz right into the account without having to enter a username or password or mess with multi-factor authentication.
Accountz is currently selling four different Genesis logins for about 40-50 percent of their unspent balances. Genesis mostly gets its inventory of botted computers and stolen logins from resellers who specialize in deploying infostealer malware via email and booby-trapped websites. Likewise, it appears Accountz also derives much of its stock from a handful of resellers, who presumably are the same ones doing the cybercrime service account cracking.
In essence, Accountz customers are paying for illicit access to cybercrime services that sell access to compromised resources that can be abused for cybercrime. That’s seriously meta.
Accountz says its inventory is low right now but that it expects to offer a great deal more stock in the coming days. I don’t doubt that’s true, and it’s somewhat remarkable that services like this aren’t more common: From reporting my “Breadcrumbs” series on prominent cybercrime actors, it’s clear that a great many cybercriminals will use the same username and password across multiple services online.
What’s more, relatively few cybercrime shops online offer their users any sort of multi-factor authentication. That’s probably because so few customers supply their real contact information when they sign up. As a result, it is often far easier for customers to simply create a new account than it is to regain control over a hacked one, or to change a forgotten password. On top of that, most shops have only rudimentary tools for blocking automated login attempts and password cracking activity.
It will be interesting to see whether any of the cybercrime shops most heavily represented in the logins for sale at Accountz start to push back. After all, draining customer account balances and locking out users is likely to increase customer support costs for these shops, lower customer satisfaction, and perhaps even damage their reputations on the crime forums where they peddle their wares.
Oh, the horror.