Cybersecurity 101: Understanding Carding

As we continue our exploration into various aspects of cybersecurity, we come to a form of cybercrime known as ‘carding.’ This illegal practice involves the theft and use of credit card information. Let’s delve into what carding is, how it works, who started it, why it happens, and when the first reported case occurred. Carding, a term that has been around since the 1980s, refers to the unauthorized use of credit cards and the trafficking of stolen credit card numbers. This illicit activity has evolved over the years, with criminals employing a range of methods to acquire and exploit credit card data.

What is Carding?

Carding is a form of credit card fraud where criminals use the internet to steal credit card information and then use that information for illegal purposes. This could involve buying prepaid gift cards to cover their tracks, exploiting personal data, and even engaging in money laundering techniques. Modern carding sites have been described as full-service commercial entities, providing a marketplace for stolen credit card information.

How Does Carding Work?

Carders, as those who engage in carding are known, employ various methods to acquire credit card and associated financial and personal data. Some of the earliest known carding methods included “trashing” for financial data, raiding mailboxes, and working with insiders. Today, carders use more sophisticated methods such as installing skimmers at ATMs, hacking or web skimming ecommerce or payment processing sites, or even intercepting card data within a point of sale network.

Stolen data may be bundled and sold on darknet markets and other carding sites. The data may include full identity information, known as “Fullz”, which includes social security numbers, dates of birth, and addresses, allowing for more lucrative identity theft.

The History of Carding

The term carding has been used to describe the practices surrounding credit card fraud since the 1980s. In the days of dial-up BBSes, methods such as “trashing”, raiding mailboxes, and working with insiders at stores were cited as effective ways of acquiring card details.

One of the first major carding cases was reported in December 1999 when a Russian 19-year-old stole the card details of 25,000 users from CD Universe and demanded $100,000 for its destruction. When the ransom was not paid, the information was leaked on the Internet.

However, carding as we know it today—with the use of technology and the internet—started gaining prominence in the late 20th century. One of the earliest known groups involved in carding was ‘ShadowCrew.’ This online forum, active in the early 2000s, had thousands of members who traded stolen credit card information and engaged in other cybercriminal activities.

How to Prevent Your Credit Card Information from Being Stolen

  1. Secure your physical cards: Always keep your credit cards in a safe place and never leave them unattended.
  2. Be cautious online: Only shop from secure websites (those that start with “https”) and never enter your credit card information on a site you don’t trust.
  3. Monitor your accounts: Regularly check your bank and credit card statements for any unauthorized charges.
  4. Use secure networks: Avoid entering your credit card information when connected to public Wi-Fi networks, which may not be secure.
  5. Install security software: Make sure your computer and mobile devices have the latest security updates and anti-virus software.

Where Does Carding Happen and How are Transactions Made?

The illicit activities related to carding primarily take place in the hidden corners of the internet, known as the ‘dark web.’ The dark web is a part of the internet that is intentionally hidden and is inaccessible through standard web browsers. It’s a hub for various illegal activities, including the sale of stolen credit card information.

Cybercriminals typically sell and buy stolen credit card data on darknet marketplaces. These platforms function similarly to legitimate online retailers, but instead of regular goods, they trade in illegal commodities. Stolen credit card information can be found in these markets, often sold in bundles known as ‘dumps.’

Transactions in these marketplaces are usually done through cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. Cryptocurrencies provide a level of anonymity to users, making transactions harder to trace. This anonymity is particularly appealing to individuals involved in illicit activities such as carding.

Despite the perceived anonymity, law enforcement agencies worldwide have become increasingly adept at tracking these activities, leading to numerous arrests and shutdowns of major darknet marketplaces. However, the battle against carding and other forms of cybercrime continues.’

Do you know how some people can sell some online subscription cheaper than the original price? Most of them are using stolen credit card info, that is why the account that you bought is prone to get banned.

Test Your Knowledge

  1. What is carding and how does it work?
  2. What are some methods carders use to acquire credit card information?
  3. What steps can you take to protect your credit card information from being stolen?

Understanding the threat of carding is a crucial part of maintaining your financial security. Stay informed, stay cautious, and remember: your personal information is valuable, so protect it accordingly.

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