Buying stolen credit cards can be a fairly drab affair. Apart from the obnoxious flashing banner ads strewn across the top of many fraud and criminal websites, often there's not much going for them when it comes to presentation.
But one site changes all of that completely. Called "Central Shop," the site comes complete with an interactive map, helping potential customers find stolen credit cards from whichever country they fancy ripping off.
Upon logging in to the password protected forum, which comes in English, Russian, Spanish or Chinese translations, users are presented with the stylish infographic, with dark brown representing countries where cards are supposedly available from.
It appears that includes most of the world, with nearly all of South America, Southeast Asia, Europe, and, unsurprisingly, the entirety of United States being coloured in. The only areas that don't appear to be affected by this site include Central and East Africa, as well as Central Asia and Russia.
As for how many cards are available from each country, the United States sits on top, with 1,401,102 being available, according to the site's counter. Those numbers might not be entirely accurate though: when the section related to the United States was clicked, exactly 50,000 cards were "found", and the list Motherboard was presented with went up to 3000.
The countries are conveniently ranked into a sort of top 10, with the United Kingdom coming in 2nd with 48,424 cards, followed by Canada with 34,048, and then Brazil with 22,370. The list also includes Australia, Germany, Spain, Ireland and Mexico.
According to online records, the domain was registered earlier this year, in June. That's not necessarily when the site itself got up and running: criminal shops tend to change their domains frequently to avoid being shut down by law enforcement, and sometimes also maintain several mirror sites in case the cops do manage to seize one of them.
The site does have some room for improvement though. Motherboard tested the site on a phone's browser, and found that it didn't have a dedicated mobile site.
Regardless, this is just the latest innovation when it comes to carding websites. Many have launched search functions, allowing fraudsters to quickly track down cards from specific states. This is sometimes done in order to avoid setting off any bank alarm bells, by only using cards within their home state or area.
Those features have also appeared on the dark web. AlphaBay, a popular marketplace, recently announced a credit card "autoshop," which was also designed to let carders track down what they need more effectively.
Although Central Shop's interactive map may not be as pragmatic as banging in a search query, it gives the site a professional, polished feel that, although not unheard of, is still rare on criminal sites.