Operation Haulster Blocks Millions of Credit Cards Obtained by Hackers


The UK security agency has released a report on their previous effort that has contributed immensely to the blocking of millions of credit cards stolen by hackers and being used by criminals. This report follows the many data breach incidents recorded in Europe and the publication of a survey revealing that 1 out of 5 individuals in the UK was a victim of credit card theft in 2017.

As the annual recorded credit card theft victims increases, the UK authorities have revealed their operations launched behind the scene to control the situation. 

According to the report, a division of the GCHQ, National Cyber Security Center (NCSC) launched an operation dubbed “Operation Haulster”. The focus was to block stolen credit card details by scanning through the internet. Per the report, the operation was successful as millions of pounds being stolen from the credit card theft victims have been blocked.

The operation did not only save victims from losing their funds but also, saved them from identity theft as their personal information could have been employed for a different use on the dark web. The operation primarily scanned the internet and the dark web for any stolen credit card details.

Credit card theft

Image Source: www.thebalance.com

According to the report, the card providers were then alerted to block any identified card. Also, they were fast enough to block any suspected transaction before criminals took action.

This operation speaks a lot about the effort of security agencies to go after credit card hackers and to save the credit card theft victims from any cyber fraud. Recently, it was reported that a credit card website, BrianClub has been hacked and millions of credit cards stolen. The obtained credit cards were sent to their providers to block any transaction. On the dark web, this business has been a boom as there has been a considerable increase in cybercrime tools on the various platforms.

One common method used by hackers to trick victims to obtain their credit card information, password or any other sensitive data is the phishing method. Operation Haulster did not only block stolen credit card details.

They run a comprehensive search on the internet and an occasional Active Cyber Defense Programme to find malicious sites and notify the hosts to remove them. This led to the removal of about 177,000 malicious URLs, representing 98% of discovered URLs that use phishing method to steal personal information.

Credit Card Theft

Image Source: www.saga.co.uk

It is obvious that this initiative will not reduce the increasing record of credit card theft victims, but will save families from losing money and become more careful in the future as authorities device an effective way of dealing with this ever-growing problem.

Patrick Martin, the Head of Threat Intelligence at the Digital Risk Protection Company Skurio revealed that the operation of the NCSC has primarily targeted the big players and the marketplaces. He admitted that the stolen credit card theft has been a growing problem.

In recent times, the launching of a sophisticated phishing attack on businesses has been a growing concern with businesses losing so much money. A lot of companies have collapsed because of cyber-attack which affected their financial grounds. 

In the last 18 months, the NCSC has worked with the US National Security Agency to monitor and shut down criminal hacking groups and block stolen credit cards. According to reports, the campaign targeted about 35 countries. The UK is one of the most targeted countries in cyber-attacks.

In 2018, it was reported that the UK recorded about 600 cyber-attacks as the security agency handled about a million credit card theft cases. The NCSC has dealt with about 1800 cases since it was set up in 2016, with 658 cases dealt between September 1, 2018, and August 31, 2019.

Ciaran Martin, Center’s Chief Executive commended the effort of the security agency and revealed that Iran, Russia, China and North Korea poses a strategic national security threat to the UK. However, they cannot often talk about their operational successes according to the report.

It was also reported that the various political parties are met every three months to provide them with the needed cyber security tips to protect the democratic process. Any digital economy is reported to be notified on new challenges to adjust its security.

Cybercrime is expected to be handled in Europe in a more effective manner as the recorded cases continue to soar. Before any long-term effective security strategy is employed by the NCSC and other security agencies, it is expected that individuals would be educated to avoid making mistakes which cybercriminals can capitalize on. It is important to use a different credit card on e-commerce websites to avoid losing money in any possible credit card theft.

Source: The Telegraph

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