32-year-old Melbourne man sentenced for buying stolen data

“Just because you are behind closed doors and a computer screen does not mean you are anonymous.”

A Melbourne man was sentenced on 19 January 2024 for using an online criminal marketplace to purchase stolen information.

The Endeavour Hills man, 32, was sentenced in the Melbourne County Court after pleading guilty on 16 January 2024.

An investigation began after the man was found using an invite-only website – known as Genesis Market – which sold login credentials, browsing history, autofill form data and other sensitive data from compromised devices.

- Advertisement -

Police conducted a search warrant at the man’s Endeavour Hills home on 5 April 2023 where they seized a laptop and mobile phone.

Subsequent forensic examination of the devices revealed he had purchased several ‘bots’ containing approximately 650 compromised credentials.

Each purchased bot contains either cookies (which are text files containing identifiable data), a digital fingerprint of a victim’s compromised credentials, or both. Such fingerprints can be used by criminals to mimic the victim’s access credentials to deceive websites into allowing access to victims’ accounts.

AFP Acting Assistant Commissioner Cyber Command Chris Goldsmid said cybercriminals were constantly looking for ways to exploit the community for financial gain.

“The rise of the internet age has created an environment ripe for online criminals to prey on vulnerable victims and access information. The public should take steps to protect themselves against this sort of crime including regularly changing passwords, ensuring they are unique to different accounts and enabling two-factor authentication.@

Acting Assistant Commissioner Goldsmid added:

“To anyone seeking to buy or sell stolen information online I want to warn you that we are working every day with our law enforcement partners, at home and abroad, and we will find you and ensure that you face justice. Just because you are behind closed doors and a computer screen does not mean you are anonymous.”

The man pleaded guilty to the following offences:

- Advertisement -
  • One count of possessing data with the intent to commit a computer offence, contrary to section 478.3(1) of the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth).

He was sentenced to a 12-month Community Corrections Order, with 150 community work hours to complete.

In sentencing the magistrate highlighted the serious nature of cybercrime offending, citing the significant disruptions that recent cyber-attacks on Melbourne Courts caused.

Genesis Market was shut down following an international investigation led by the FBI and assisted by the AFP, NSW Police Force, Victoria Police, Queensland Police Service and Western Australia Police Force.

At the time of the takedown, Genesis Market offered access to more than 1.5 million compromised computers – each containing information for dozens of accounts.

Support Our Journalism

Global Indian Diaspora needs fair, non-hyphenated, and questioning journalism, packed with on-ground reporting. The Australia Today – with exceptional reporters, columnists, and editors – is doing just that. Sustaining this needs support from wonderful readers like you.

Whether you live in Australia, the United Kingdom, Canada, the United States of America, or India you can take a paid subscription by clicking Patreon. Buy an annual ‘The Australia Today Membership’ to support independent journalism and get special benefits.