Portuguese Police collaborate with FBI do dismantle sale of personal data online
A criminal online scheme based on a server that housed a website dedicated to the purchase and sale of personal data was dismantled by the Judiciary Police (PJ), the police force announced on Tuesday, which collaborated with the FBI in this operation called “WT1SHOP”
In a statement, the PJ explained that the WT1SHOP website “made available, illicitly, about six million personal identification data and information, including passport data, scanned driving licenses, bank accounts, credit cards and access credentials to various websites and services”, and these records were obtained from illegitimate access and intrusion and capture of credentials.
The dismantling and seizure operation was carried out by the National Unit for the Fight against Cybercrime and Technological Crime (UNC3T), with the collaboration of the Technological and Computer Forensics Unit (UPTI), following inquiries requested by the United States of America (USA) authorities, with the FBI seizing four other domains from this site: “wt1shop.net”, “wt1store.cc”, “wt1store.com”, and “wt1store.net”.
In parallel to the site, there was an associated forum with more than 100,000 registered users who bought and sold personal information through payments in virtual currency. According to the PJ, this activity generated “revenues of around $4 million” (about the same amount in euros).
The information released today by the PJ comes a week after a statement from the US Department of Justice, which pointed to a federal criminal complaint filed on 21 April targeting a 36-year-old Moldovan citizen. According to the US authorities’ document, Nicolai Colesnicov operated WT1SHOP and was charged with conspiracy and trafficking in unauthorised access devices.
“If convicted, Colesnicov faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in federal prison for conspiracy and trafficking in unauthorised access devices,” the Justice Department information concluded with praise for the FBI, but also partners from Portugal, Moldova, Estonia, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands.