A total 24 suspected hackers were arrested on four continents this week, in a sting operation targeting online financial fraud involving stolen credit card and bank information.
US officials said the two-year investigation, in which FBI agents posed as hackers on internet forums, prevented more than $US205 million in losses on over 411,000 compromised consumer credit and debit cards.
Some 11 people were arrested in the US, with the 13 others arrested in other countries.
Law enforcement agencies were involved from Britain, Australia, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Denmark, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Macedonia and Norway.
"Clever computer criminals operating behind the supposed veil of the internet are still subject to the long arm of the law," Manhattan US Attorney Preet Bharara said.
Two people were arrested in the New York area, the authorities said, and were expected to appear in Manhattan federal court later on Tuesday. A person familiar with the matter said three people had been arrested in the New York area.
One of the men, Mir Islam — known online as "JoshTheGod" — was charged with trafficking in 50,000 stolen credit card numbers. Authorities said Islam had admitted to helping emerging hacker outfit UGNazi, which claimed a cyberattack against Twitter last week.
A lawyer for Islam did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the charges.
Joshua Hicks, also known as "OxideDox", was charged with one count of access device fraud in a criminal complaint unsealed on Tuesday.
The 24 people arrested were all men and ranged from 18 to 25 years old. Some face up to 40 years or more in prison if convicted on conspiracy to commit wire fraud charges and access device fraud charges.
The FBI operation centered around a "carding forum" that it had secretly created in June 2010, and was in charge of running, unbeknownst to its participants, authorities said.
The forum, called "Carder Profit", was essentially an online market for registered users to exchange stolen account numbers. It was shut down in May.
(Reporting By Basil Katz; Editing by Carol Bishopric)