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In a major victory against online crime, a coordinated international operation has shut down a website used to create fake websites that steal personal information.

The global law enforcement operation has disrupted a website used by over 2,000 criminals to try to defraud tens of thousands of victims.

British police reportedly led the 22-month investigation, infiltrating the LabHost website and conducting raids across 19 countries. They arrested 37 suspects, including the platform’s creators, and disabled LabHost and its linked fraudulent sites.

Europol and police agencies in 19 countries, as well as companies including Microsoft, Chainalysis and Intel 471, took part in the operation. Europol said it involved law enforcement in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Finland, Ireland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, the United States, Czech Republic and Estonia.

What exactly is LabHost website

Police said that LabHost was set up in 2021 by a criminal cyber network which sought to scam victims out of key personally identifiable information, such as bank details and passwords, by creating fake websites.

Criminals were reportedly able to use it to exploit victims through existing sites, or to easily create fake websites designed to look like trusted brands such as banks and healthcare agencies.

“With a monthly fee averaging $249, LabHost would offer a range of illicit services which were customizable and could be deployed with a few clicks.”

Victims tricked into entering their personal information, like passwords and bank details, on these fake websites. The investigation uncovered over 40,000 fraudulent domains linked to LabHost, with some users paying hundreds of dollars monthly to target victims globally.

Investigators have also reportedly established that LabHost has stolen approximately 480,000 credit cards, 64,000 PINs, and one million passwords for various online accounts.

  • Published On Apr 19, 2024 at 06:50 PM IST

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