Translation of Kingpin. Chapter 34. “DarkMarket”

Kevin Poulsen, editor of WIRED magazine, and a blackhat hacker Dark Dante as a child, wrote a book about "one of his acquaintances . "

The beginning and the translation plan is here: "Kingpin: students are translating a book about hackers . "

“Chapter 34” was chosen as a participant in the summer camp, who wished to remain anonymous, as an independent project. (Any resemblance to "rule 34" is random)


The guy is sitting on a hard polished wooden chair and is angrily looking at the camera. Against the background of a shabby stucco wall, he is in his underpants and holds a sign in his hands. It is written in capital letters:


The appearance of this photo on the DarkMarket forum in May 2008 made Mularsky hurriedly return to the NCFTA communications room. It would be useful for the command center to know that one of the administrators of Master Splintra abducted and tortured an informant.

If anyone has recommendations on how to translate something better, the original chapter is given at the end of the post.

NCFTA is a non-profit organization sponsored by a number of firms, Internet companies and the US federal government, whose goal is to collect information about crimes in the economic sphere and in the field of high technology.

Also in the building of this agency is the headquarters of a special unit of the FBI, called the Cyber ​​Initiative and Resource Fusion Unit, an employee of which carried out the operation with DarkMarket.

Mularski, aka Master Splinter, an undercover FBI agent.

Continued chapter

Cha0 was an engineer in Istanbul, he sold to fraudsters around the world high quality skimmers and PIN-keyboard for ATMs. The reader installed in the ATM recorded information from the magnetic tape from all credit cards, and the fake keyboard wrote down the secret PIN code.

His flash ad on DarkMarket was classic - it started with a cartoon man who sneaks through a house full of money. "Is that you"? - it is written below - "Yes, if you bought a reader and a PIN keyboard from Cha0."

The instruction for new customers was accompanied by a smiling caricature of Cha0 himself.

“Hi, my name is Cha0. I am a skimmer and PIN keyboard developer. I work 24 hours a day and produce the best devices for skimming. You can make a lot of money in this business with me and my group. We make devices for beginners. It's very simple! ”

Animated Cha0 then offers a couple of useful tips:
  • Do not install equipment in the morning, as passers-by at this time are more vigilant;
  • Do not choose a place through which more than 250 people pass per day;
  • Beware of cities with a population of less than 15,000 - people know too well how ATMs look and can notice equipment.

Master Splintre knew that Ch0 was a burnt criminal and could use force to protect his multi-million dollar business, despite the cartoony approach to marketing. And that turned out to be true.

Mert “Kier” Ortach was part of the Cha0 gang called Crime Enforcers until he escaped to a Turkish television station to rant on Cha0. After some interviews, he disappeared. When he showed up, after some time, and spoke about his abduction and beating of Cha0 and his henchmen.

Now Cha0 has confirmed this story by posting a photo on DarkMarket as a warning to others. The photo justified the FBI's long-standing suspicions of the rising level of violence in the computer underground. With the amount of money invested underground, it became clear that carders would resort to violence to protect or increase their source of income.

Max was taken into custody in Ohio, and DarkMarket grew unhindered. Mularski focused on the most influential people and Cha0 was among them. A Turkish cyber investigator spent three months with Mularski side by side at the NCFTA to figure out a skimmer manufacturer.

Mularski gave Cha0 two computers, thereby taking the first step in the investigation. Cha0 redirected the package to his footmen, who were under the supervision of the Turkish National Police. This led to Cagatay Evyapan, an electronics engineer with great criminal experience, whose biography coincided with the biography of Cha0, which he secretly shared with Mularski.

Police visited several international shipping companies and interrogated them about Cha0 orders. One of them identified the delivery of equipment from Istanbul to Europe, and one of the organization’s members as a sender. This gave all the evidence the police needed.

On September 5th, five police officers in bulletproof vests broke into the Cha0 house on the outskirts of Istanbul.

Having burst into the house, they laid Cha0 and his henchman on the ground threatening with a weapon.

Inside the house, they found a complete electric laboratory and production line with all the components neatly laid out in buckets and boxes. Somewhere around a dozen computers worked on tables. Cha0 had almost the same card-breaking equipment as Chris Aragon's factory. The same huge boxes in which lay thousands of readers and PIN keyboards awaiting shipment. Cha0 records indicate that four of them have already reached the United States.

The cops brought Evyapan in handcuffs - a tall, muscular man with short hair and a black T-shirt depicting death with a scythe. The face of organized crime on the Internet.

In Turkey, six Cha0 gang members were arrested with him.

Cha0 was the last on the Mularski list. DarkMarket took another trump card. Marcus Kellerer - Matrix001 , was arrested in Germany in May 2007, and he spent 4 months in a maximum security prison.

Renukant “JiLsi” Sabramaniam , a Sri Lankan resident of England, was arrested in July 2007 after detectives, along with an organized crime agency, settled in an Internet cafe that he used as an office and compared his appearances in cafe with his posts on DarkMarket and chats with master Splintrom.

John "devilman" McHugh was arrested at the same time; the police found in his house a factory for counterfeiting credit cards.

With Mularski’s help, police also arrested Ercan “Seagate” Findikoglu , a black market participant who organized a massive King Arthur-style cash-out operation, responsible for $ 2 million stolen from banks. They managed to return one million after his arrest. Seagate’s twenty-seven members were also arrested in Turkey, and the FBI arrested six of his agents in the United States.

Now that Cha0 and Seagate were behind bars, Mularski's work was completed. DarkMarket in two years “brought” Mularski 56 arrests in 4 countries. On Tuesday, September 16, 2008, he posted a post announcing the closure of DarkMarket. As a tribute to the history and culture of carding, the FBI agent borrowed King Arthur's legendary message about the closure of Planet Carding several years ago:

“Good afternoon, dear and respected forum participants,” he began, “it is time to tell you bad news — the forum will be closed. Yes, really closed. Over the past year, we have lost a huge number of admins on the forums: Aisman in the market of carders, JiLsi and Matrix001 have disappeared, and now Cha0 on DM. It becomes clear that this forum, which has lived for almost 3 years, has begun to attract too much attention of the world intelligence services.

I would rather leave as King Arthur than as Eisman. Aisman decided to simply change his nickname to Apex, and continued to manage CM. King Arthur simply closed the Carder Planet and disappeared into the night. History has shown that Iceman made a huge mistake. I will not repeat it. ”

Full message in English
Good day, respected and dear forum members.

It is time to tell you the bad news – the forum should be closed. Yes, I really mean close…… there are lots of reasons for it, and I have given this a lot of hard thought.

First of all, recent events have proven that even in our best efforts to expel and deactivate the accounts of suspected LE, reporters, and security agents, it is obvious that we haven’t been entirely successful. Over the last year we have lost a lot of the Admins of the forums: Iceman on Cardersmarket; JiLsi and Matrix001 disappeared, and now, ChaO on DM. It is apparent that this forum, which has been around almost three years, is attracting too much attention from a lot of the world services (agents of FBI, SS, and Interpol.) I guess it was only time before this would happen. It is very unfortunate that we have come to this situation, because I think we’ve done a great job in eliminating the rippers of the world, and we have established DM as the premier English speaking forum for conducting business. Such is life…… when you are on top… people try to bring you down.

Although we have eliminated the rippers, it obvious that the Special Services and Security fucks are still here lurking in our ranks. They continue to gather evidence on us. They read our posts, they talk with our vendors, they look to see who are the active members of the forum. These Special Services are gathering evidence on us and sending requests to our native countries to find out information on us. It would be too long and cumbersome, not to mention fruitless, to try to keep the forum up and try to do a complete purge of suspected people. For we have been attempting this for the last year. Obviously, the effort is futile. It is time to start fresh.

To quote and paraphrase King Arthur of Carder Planet; How clever can we be? We use many proxies and socks, however Special Services can find our VPN even in the most darkest corners of the world. All of us are just people and all of us can make mistakes. Iceman, ChaO and Maksik are prime examples. We can forget to switch on the VPN, get frustrated with inconsistent proxies, or accidently give out Identifying informaiton. It is not a secret that FBI employees go to the ISPs and get logs and history logs. Because of it they can catch anyone, it is just the matter of time and will. We don’t hold the logs on our site but who knows, maybe cops are taking IPs of all people who connect to forum on the area where our server with site is located. They can start processing of the most often occurring IPs (sub-nets of the C class) and the following scenario all of us know.

I myself would rather go out like King Arthur than Iceman. Whereas Iceman decided that all he would do was change his nick to Aphex, and continue to run CM, King Arthur closed Carder Planet and faded into the night. History has shown that Iceman made a fatal mistake, I will not make the same.

Because of this, I’ve discussed the situation with the Admins. Should we keep the forum up longer, or should we close it? This has not been an easy decision for me, because I have spent many long hours working on this forum and trying to make it the best it could be. I’ve thought about selling the forum. However DM has been my soul. How do you sell your soul? I have weighed the pros and cons, and it has to be closed. It is what it is. All good things come to an end.

Hosting is paid through Oct 4th, so the forum will function until then, and after that it will close.

I send out my regards all members

And for all the police and security fucktards…… well… fuck you all……


Mularski planned to support the legend of Master Splintra. It was a great legend that could come in handy for future investigations. But this did not happen. A week after DarkMarket closed, a reporter for Sudwestrundfunk, a southwestern German public radio, received court documents in Matrix001, which buried the legend of Mularski. The American press quickly picked up the story. Now, 2500 DarkMarket members knew that they were doing business on a dummy site and that Eisman was right all this time.

Three days after the failure of the legend, Mularski found an ICQ message addressed to Master Splintru. It was from TheUnknown, one of the suspects who managed to escape from the police.

“You are a *** piece ***. *** Thought you would catch me? Haha Fucking newbie. You haven’t even come close to me. ”
(“U fucking piece of shit. Motherfucker. Thought you can catch me. Hahaha. Fucking newb. U are nowhere near me.”)

“If you want to give up, let me know.” Mularski replied. - "It would be easier than to look for life.»

TheUnknown surrendered a week later.

Mularski breathed a sigh of relief upon learning that he was uncovered. For two years in a row, the laptop was his constant companion - even on vacation, he was online, talking with scammers. Sometimes it was pleasing to him - to build relationships with suspects, to tease and taunt them. Master Splintre could say such things to criminals that no respected FBI agent could say.

Mularski sought to return his familiar life back, it took time. Even a month after DarkMarket closed, he was still struggling with anxiety. Mularski had another goal. Stop being a master splinter.

The man is sitting rigid on a polished wooden chair and staring balefully into the camera.
Paint peels from a cracked plaster wall behind him. He’s been stripped down to his underwear,
and he’s holding a handwritten sign over his exposed paunch. I AM KIER, it reads, in large block
The appearance of the photo on DarkMarket in May 2008 sent Mularski hurrying back into
the NCFTA communications room. Headquarters would want to know that one of Master
Splyntr’s admins had just kidnapped and tortured an informant.
Cha0 was an engineer in Istanbul who sold high-quality ATM skimmers and PIN pads to
fraudsters around the world. Covertly affixed to a cash machine, the skimmer would record the
magstripe data on every debit or credit card fed into the ATM, while the PIN-pad overlay stored
the user’s secret code.
Cha0 cut a jaunty presence in the underground. His Flash-animated banner ad on
DarkMarket was a classic, opening with a cartoon man wading through a house full of cash. “Is
that you?” the text asks. “Yes. If you bought a skimmer and PIN pad from Cha0.” A similarly
styled video tutorial for new customers was narrated by a smiling caricature of Cha0 himself.
“Hi, my name is Cha0. I’m a developer of skimming devices. I work for you twenty-four hours a
day and make the best devices for skimming. You’ll be able to make money in this business
with me and my group. We make these devices for newbies—it’s that easy to use!” The
animated Cha0 goes on to offer practical advice: Don’t install your skimmer in the morning,
because passersby are more vigilant at that time. Don’t choose a location where 250 people or
more pass a day. Avoid cities with a population less than 15,000—residents know too well
what the ATM is supposed to look like and might notice Cha0’s product.
Notwithstanding his whimsical marketing, Cha0 had always made it clear to his friend Master
Splyntr that he was a serious criminal, not afraid to get physical to protect his multimillion-dollar
business. Now he’d proven it. Mert “Kier” Ortac had been part of Cha0’s organization, the
Crime Enforcers, until he went running to a Turkish TV station to blab about Cha0’s activities.
After a couple of interviews, he vanished. When he resurfaced a short time later, he told a
harrowing story about being abducted and beaten by Cha0 and his henchmen.
Now Cha0 had confirmed the tale by posting the kidnap photo to DarkMarket as a warning
to others.
The image put proof to the FBI’s long-held suspicions that the computer underground was
getting violent. With hundreds of millions of dollars pouring into the scene every year, it had
seemed inevitable that the carders would take on the brutal methods of traditional organized
crime to enlarge or protect their illegal income.
With Max safely locked up in an Ohio detention center, DarkMarket had been free to grow,
and Mularski was closing in on its heaviest hitters—Cha0 among them. A Turkish cybercrime
detective had spent three months at the NCFTA on a fellowship and was working with
Mularski to run down the skimmer maker.
Mularski had sent Cha0 two lightweight PCs as a gift the previous year, opening the first
door in the investigation. Cha0 had directed the shipment to flunkies in his organization, who
were promptly put under surveillance by the Turkish National Police. That led to Cagatay
Evyapan, an electrical engineer with a prior criminal record—details that jibed with the
biography Cha0 had shared privately with Mularski.
The police approached several international shipping companies and briefed them about
Cha0’s operations. One of them identified some of the skimmer shipments from Istanbul to
Europe, fingering a known member of Cha0’s organization as the shipper.
That gave the police the evidence they needed. On September 5, five police in bulletproof
vests raided Cha0’s apartment on the outskirts of Istanbul. They rushed into his house and
pushed Cha0 and an associate to the ground at gunpoint.
Inside his apartment was a complete electrical lab and assembly line, with components
neatly organized in trays and bins. Nearly a dozen computers were running on the desks. Cha0
had all the same card-counterfeiting equipment that had graced Chris Aragon’s factory, as well
as giant cardboard boxes holding some one thousand skimmers and two thousand PIN pads,
all awaiting international shipment. Cha0’s records showed that four of them had already
gotten into the United States.
The cops brought Evyapan out in handcuffs, a tall, beefy man with close-cropped hair and a
black T-shirt emblazoned with the Grim Reaper. The face of organized crime in the Internet
Cha0 was the last listed target in Mularski’s undercover authorization; the other key
DarkMarket players had already been taken down. Markus Kellerer, Matrix001, was arrested in
Germany in May 2007 and spent four months in a high-security prison. Renukanth “JiLsi”
Subramaniam, a Sri Lankan–born British citizen, was raided in London in June 2007 after
detectives with the Serious Organised Crime Agency in Britain staked out the Internet cafe he
used as an office, matching his appearances at the Java Bean with JiLsi’s posts on DarkMarket
and his chats with Master Splyntr. JiLsi’s associate, sixty-seven-year-old John “Devilman”
McHugh, was picked up at the same time; police found a credit card counterfeiting factory in
the senior citizen’s home.
In Turkey, six members of Cha0’s organization were charged along with Cha0. With
Mularski’s help, the police also swooped in on Erkan “Seagate” Findikoglu, a DarkMarket
member who ran a massive King Arthur–style cash-out operation responsible for at least two
million dollars in thefts from U.S. banks and credit unions—they recovered one million of it in
cash at his arrest. Twenty-seven members of Seagate’s organization were charged in Turkey,
and the FBI rounded up six of his cashers in the United States.
With Cha0 and Seagate in jail, Mularski’s work was done—his two years running DarkMarket
had now resulted in fifty-six arrests in four countries. On Tuesday, September 16, 2008, he
drafted a post formally announcing the closure of the site. As an homage to the carding world’s
history and culture, the FBI agent borrowed from King Arthur’s legendary message closing
Carder Planet years before. “Good day, respected and dear forum members,” he began.
It is time to tell you the bad news—the forum should be closed. Yes, I really mean
Over the last year we have lost a lot of the admins of the forums: Iceman on
Carders Market; JiLsi and Matrix001 disappeared, and now, Cha0 on DM. It is apparent
that this forum, which has been around almost three years, is attracting too much
attention from a lot of the world services.…
I myself would rather go out like King Arthur than Iceman. Whereas Iceman decided
that all he would do was change his nick to Aphex, and continue to run CM, King
Arthur closed CarderPlanet and faded into the night. History has shown that Iceman
made a fatal mistake. I will not make the same.
Mularski planned to keep his Master Splyntr identity dormant but alive: He’d have a wellestablished
underground legend that he could pull from his pocket whenever he needed it in
future investigations. But it was not to be. About a week after DarkMarket went dark, a
reporter for Sudwestrundfunk, Southwest Germany public radio, got his hands on court
documents filed in Matrix’s case that laid bare Mularski’s double life. The U.S. press picked up
the story. Now 2,500 members of DarkMarket knew they’d been doing business on a sting site
and that Iceman had been right all along.
Three days after the story broke in the United States, Mularski found an ICQ message to
Master Splyntr waiting on his computer. It was from TheUnknown, a UK target who’d gone on
the run after he was raided by the British police. “U fucking piece of shit. Motherfucker.
Thought you can catch me. Hahaha. Fucking newb. U are nowhere near me.”
“If you want to make arrangements to turn yourself in, let me know,” Mularski wrote back. “It
will be easier than looking over your shoulder the rest of your life.”
TheUnknown turned himself in a week later.
Mularski was almost relieved to have his secret identity revealed; for two years, his laptop
had been his constant companion—even on vacation, he’d been online talking to carders. He’d
enjoyed some of it—building online friendships with some of his targets, teasing and taunting
others. Master Splyntr could say things to criminals that a respectable FBI agent never could.
Eager as Mularski was to have his life back, it would take time. Nearly a month after
DarkMarket’s closing, he was still fighting a vague restlessness. Mularski had one more
challenge to master. He’d have to learn how to not be Master Splyntr.

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