• Michael D. Mihalo pleaded guilty on May 16th to leading a conspiracy that sold stolen financial information on the dark web.
• Mihalo operated under the alias Dale Michael Mihalo Jr. and ran a “carding” site titled Skynet Market.
• From 2016-2019, he sold stolen financial information from tens of thousands of victims, earning approximately $1 million worth of cryptocurrencies at the time of sale.
Michael D. Mihalo Pleads Guilty in US
On May 16th, 40-year-old US resident Michael D. Mihalo pled guilty to leading a conspiracy that sold stolen financial information on the dark web. Also going by Dale Michael Mihalo Jr., he was responsible for running a “carding” site named Skynet Market and was also an active vendor on other darknet markets such as AlphaBay Market, Wall Street Market, and Hansa Market.
What is The Dark Web?
The dark web is part of the internet that is intentionally hidden and not indexed by traditional search engines and is often associated with illegal activities – requiring specific software or configurations to access it using non-standard communication protocols and ports. It facilitates transactions involving drugs, cyber-arms, counterfeit money, etc., usually using digital currencies like bitcoin (BTC) or monero (XMR).
Mihalo assembled a team that assisted him in selling the stolen financial and identity information between February 2016 – October 2019 from tens of thousands of U.S.-based victims for which he processed 49,084 payment cards at minimum netting him $1 million worth of cryptocurrency at the time of sale – although its value has significantly increased since then due to fluctuating valuations in digital assets markets . His co-conspirator Taylor Ross Staats served as his „card checker“ whose job was to ensure that all data being sold had not been cancelled by any relevant financial institutions.
Mihalo faces up to 20 years in prison for one count each of conspiracy to commit wire fraud affecting a financial institution; money laundering; aggravated identity theft; trafficking counterfeit goods; trafficking stolen authentication features; possession with intent to use unlawfully five or more unauthorized access devices; accessing protected computers without authorization for purposes of commercial advantage or private financial gain; as well as substantive violations of each those counts respectively if found guilty during sentencing which will be held later this year according to court documents .
Mihalo’s decision serves as yet another reminder how far reaching cybercrime can be especially considering it only takes one person or group operating under aliases within hidden networks with different protocols on the internet for numerous people around the world to suffer financially due their actions .