E-Root Marketplace Admin Sentenced to 42 Months for Selling 350K Stolen Credentials

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A 31-year-old Moldovan national has been sentenced to 42 months in prison in the U.S. for operating an illicit marketplace called E-Root Marketplace that offered for sale hundreds of thousands of compromised credentials, the Department of Justice (DoJ) announced. Sandu Boris Diaconu was charged with conspiracy to commit access device and computer fraud and possession of 15 or more unauthorized

A 31-year-old Moldovan national has been sentenced to 42 months in prison in the U.S. for operating an illicit marketplace called E-Root Marketplace that offered for sale hundreds of thousands of compromised credentials, the Department of Justice (DoJ) announced.

Sandu Boris Diaconu was charged with conspiracy to commit access device and computer fraud and possession of 15 or more unauthorized access devices. He pleaded guilty on December 1, 2023.

“The E-Root Marketplace operated across a widely distributed network and took steps to hide the identities of its administrators, buyers, and sellers,” the DoJ said last week.

“Buyers could search for compromised computer credentials on E-Root, such as usernames and passwords that would allow buyers to access remote computers for purposes of stealing private information or manipulating the contents of the remote computer.”

Prospective customers could also search for RDP and SSH credentials based on various filter criteria such as price, geographic location, internet service provider, and operating system.

In an attempt to hide the transaction trails, the marketplace provided an online payment system called Perfect Money, which further made it possible to convert Bitcoin to and from Perfect Money. The infrastructure associated with E-Root and Perfect Money has since been seized by law enforcement as of late 2020.

More than 350,000 credentials are estimated to have been advertised for sale on the illegal marketplace, with many of the victims subjected to ransomware attacks and identity tax fraud schemes.

Diaconu, who served as the administrator between January 2015 and February 2020, was arrested in the U.K. in May 2021 while trying to flee the country. He was extradited to the U.S. in late October 2023.

“The E-Root Marketplace operated across a widely distributed network and took steps to hide the identities of its administrators, buyers, and sellers,” the DoJ said.

The development comes as the DoJ also said it’s recovering $2.3 million worth of cryptocurrency linked to a pig butchering romance scam that victimized at least 37 individuals across the U.S.

Such schemes seek to build trust with victims in online communications and then entice them into investing in a cryptocurrency scam under the guise of quick returns. Instead, the funds are diverted to the scammers’ wallets, leading to financial losses.

According to Web3 anti-fraud company Scam Sniffer, approximately 57,000 victims have lost about $47 million to crypto phishing scams in the month of February 2024 alone.

“Compared to January, the number of victims who lost over $1 million decreased by 75%,” it said in a series of posts on X (formerly Twitter). “Most victims were lured to phishing websites through phishing comments from impersonated Twitter accounts.”

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 The Hacker News 

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