Firm steals 5 lakh credit cards, 1 million passwords, 64,000 PINS; Here's how Europol caught them

The operation resulted in the arrest of 37 suspects, including the platform's developers, and the dismantling of LabHost's infrastructure.

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Mayank Kasyap
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New Delhi: In a major victory against cybercrime, a coordinated international operation has shut down LabHost, a website notorious for facilitating phishing attacks. This global takedown, led by British police and involving authorities from 19 countries, disrupts a critical tool used by over 2,000 criminals to defraud unsuspecting victims.

Inside LabHost's phishing fraud

LabHost operated as a "Phishing-as-a-Service" (PhaaS) platform, providing a dark web marketplace where cybercriminals could create and deploy fake websites designed to steal personal information. These websites mimicked legitimate online services, like banks and healthcare providers, to trick victims into revealing sensitive data such as passwords, bank details, and PINs.

Global collaboration dismantles the network

The 22-month investigation, involving Europol and law enforcement agencies from Australia, Austria, Belgium, and 16 other countries, infiltrated LabHost and coordinated raids across 19 countries. The operation resulted in the arrest of 37 suspects, including the platform's developers, and the dismantling of LabHost's infrastructure. Additionally, linked fraudulent websites were disabled, further disrupting criminal activity.

Scale of the problem

Europol estimates that LabHost facilitated the creation of over 40,000 fraudulent domains, with some users paying exorbitant fees to target victims worldwide. Investigators believe this operation prevented the theft of a significant amount of personal data, including an estimated 480,000 credit cards, 64,000 PINs, and 1 million online account passwords.

Crippling a criminal marketplace

The takedown of LabHost represents a significant blow to cybercrime operations. Dismantling this "one-stop shop" for phishing tools disrupts the infrastructure used by criminals to defraud victims and emphasizes the importance of international collaboration in combating online threats.