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Feds charge Vietnamese suspect with slurp'n'flog of half-a-million Americans' ID data

'Fullz' sold included social security, bank account and bank routing numbers

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

A Vietnamese man has been charged in connection with a long-running scam involving the theft and resale of what the DoJ rather hiply refers to as the "fullz”* (personal information) of hundreds of thousands of Americans.

Hieu Minh Ngo, 24, a Vietnamese national, was hit with a total of 15 charges, including conspiracy to commit wire fraud, substantive wire fraud, conspiracy to commit identity fraud, substantive identity fraud, aggravated identity theft, conspiracy to commit access device fraud, and substantive access device fraud, according to a Department of Justice statement on the case.

From 2007 until 2012 Ngo, allegedly operating under the alias “hieupc”, conspired with others to sell "personal information packages" of more than 500,000 people, according to prosecutors.

Many of these sales were carried out on carding forums or cybercrime marketplaces operated by the suspects, claims the DoJ. Higher prices were charged for more recently updated information, while the illegal trades also involved stolen payment card data, the Feds said. Payments for the illicit info was through a "digital currency service".

Ngo was arrested upon his entry into the United States in February 2013. The charges, filed in November 2012, were unsealed on 18 October. The full indictment against Ngo can be found here (PDF).

Investigative blogger and cybercrime specialist Brian Krebs reports that the business was run through an underground service called Superget.info.

Krebs claims that cybercrooks posing as US-based private investigators bought the information from Experian. The credit reference agency had acquired a smaller information agency, Court Ventures, whose US Info Search product Superget.info had previously slurped some of its data from. Access was paid for by monthly wire transfers from Singapore, it is alleged.

An Experian spokesman said: “The data from US Info Search was never mixed with Experian data, and to be clear, Experian’s credit files were not accessed. Experian acquired Court Ventures in March, 2012 because of its national public records database. After the acquisition, the US Secret Service notified Experian that Court Ventures had been and was continuing to resell data from US Info Search to a third party possibly engaged in illegal activity. Following notice by the US Secret Service, Experian discontinued reselling US Info Search data."

"Because of the ongoing federal investigation, we are not free to say anything further at this time,” the spokesman added. ®

* An individual's "fullz", according to a press release by the US Department of Justice, include their name, date of birth, social security number, bank account number and bank routing number.

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

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