In Isk we Trust: Iskbank.com Exposed, Thousand of Customers Outed. *Update*
EveNews24 has received what appears to be the customer and order database for a major RMT (real money trading) site, Iskbank.com. Provided by an anonymous source, this information details thousands of transactions occurring between mid-April 2010 and until March 4, 2011, which was just last week. A dizzying array of information is contained in the database; everything from names and dates to products purchased and money spent to email and IP addresses.
The overall scale of the operation is breathtaking. Since we received it, we’ve been working through the data in an attempt to make sense of it. Initial estimates indicated that the total sales for the site were approximately $345,000. We then worked to filter out all orders which did not appear to have reached completion. While it’s impossible to be certain of the exact numbers, it now appears that Iskbank.com made approximately $290,000 in sales for the 10-1/2-month period. These figures do not include any sales made through their sister site, Eveisk.ru and yes, those are US Dollars.
Based in Chişinău, the capital of Moldova, Iskbank.com has been operating in its current incarnation since December of 2009, and claims to have been in operation for three years prior. The owner and primary operator of the site is known as Vadim, although it’s impossible to know if there is any relation to the Eve character of the same name. Records indicate that Iskbank.com has somewhere between 2 and 5 employees, although this is only an estimate. They appear to also operate eveisk.ru, a Russian-language mirror of Iskbank.com.
The variety and amount of items they seem to have in stock is mind-blowing. Included in the database is a running inventory of the items they hold in reserve. As of March 4, the data indicates that they had more than 2 trillion ISK and 5,540 PLEX (worth approximately 1.9 trillion ISK by current values – or about $82,800 in game time value), along with relatively large stockpiles of faction ships, high-end implants and characters. PLEXes were introduced by CCP as a way to curb RMT retailing, which makes their inclusion in the inventory of RMT retailers especially troubling to anyone concerned about the corrupting influence of RMT in Eve Online.
A closer look at the details paints an interesting picture. The largest purchase in this time period was for a Titan, a Supercarrier, a character and two high-grade implant sets – Slave and Crystal. The most frequently purchased item was ISK. A large number of purchases are by repeat customers. A significant number of character names listed in the purchases are by obvious alt characters, many of which were created right before the purchase and/or deleted after the purchase was concluded in an apparent effort to cover their tracks.
We are currently developing more stories containing additional analysis of the data. We have also conducted interviews with some of Iskbank.com‘s customers. We have approached CCP for comment but CCP Manifest has declined our request for an interview. It is a standing offer, however, so it’s still possible that CCP will weigh in on this topic. We were, however, able to interview Vadim, the owner of Eveisk.com.
Vadim did not dispute the accuracy when presented with the figures used to develop this story. He claimed that the information was obtained by a hacker operating in Slovenia. He also accused the hacker of attempting to blackmail some of the customers on the list, demanding ISK in exchange for his silence. According to Vadim, he became aware of the attempted blackmail when the customers later complained to Iskbank.com customer support. He offered to provide EveNews24 with logs to support his allegations, but at press time, they were not received.
When asked what he thought the effects of the leak, Vadim replied that, in the short-term, some of his customers would likely be punished and that Iskbank.com‘s reputation would be hurt. When asked about long-term effects, he replied, “In the long-term? Nothing is going to change; neither in the industry, nor with us ISK farmers.” It should come as no surprise that he also asked that the list of customers not be made public.
Eve News24’s editorial team engaged in serious debate about the idea of publishing the list of Iskbank.com customer names. We agreed that any and all the personal information in the database (email addresses, phone numbers, et cetera) should not be made public under any circumstances. However, we already have a precedent of publishing the names of characters involved in illegal activity, so we decided that there was no valid reason why we shouldn’t do so here. We are aware that our information may not be perfectly accurate. There’s no way to say how many of Iskbank.com‘s customers cancelled orders after paying or how many of them failed to receive the ISK, characters or items they purchased. The character names listed here were input into the orders by the customer who made the order, so it is possible that some of these transactions were made for someone other than the purchaser. We spent days sifting through the information to determine the difference between actual customers and those who placed orders, but did not make payment. Eventually, we decided that our list of names is as accurate as we can make it and, however imperfect it may be, we have decided to publish the list of character names, along with the dollar amounts of their purchases. Given the near-inevitability that some of the names listed are incorrect, this should not be considered an authoritative list. However, this is news and we feel obligated to cover it, despite its flaws.
We can assume that CCP was given a copy of the Iskbank.com database by the same person who sent it to us. Even if this wasn’t the case, when we made our initial request for an interview, we also provided them with the database. We are confident that they will investigate and take whatever action they deem appropriate. CCP is the only organization with the ability and authority to investigate allegations of RMT activity. EveNews24 only has the ability to report what we believe to be true and, while we can never be 100% certain of its accuracy, We’ve done our best.
Below is a link to the list. Names are listed in alphabetical order, along with the dollar amount of each purchase. Multiple instances of the same name indicates multiple purchases at different times.
Update 1: In response to this story, Iskbank.com has made the following announcement on their site:
Official Iskbank.com statement on the DB leak.
Evenews24.com has a publication about our website and in the end of the story published a list of characters that, as it is stated, have been obtained from our DB.
We officially state the information provided on the above-mentioned website is fictitious and has nothing to do with our customers’ data.
We are not responsible for any potential inconvenience the publication of Evenews24 may cause to real players in case some of the listed characters exist in Eve Online.
Also, taking into consideration the potential ways such information can be obtained through and used for, we believe the editorial board of Evenews24 has to bear responsibility for a) unauthorized access to and sharing of personal data of Eve Online users b) slander and intentional harm to certain Eve Online users.
While we can understand why Iskbank.com would refuse to confirm the data we received, EveNews24 staff spent a great deal of time talking to customers whose names were on this list. The vast majority of those we spoke to confirmed that they were Iskbank.com customers. Some of their stories will be told tomorrow. In the mean time, we stand by our story. It is also worth pointing out that Vadim has not provided any evidence that the individual who accessed the Iskbank.com database used the information to blackmail customers, despite his promise to provide that evidence. As such, we now believe those allegations to be false. -Lapham
Update 2: GM Grimmi has posted a brief response on the Eve Online official forums:
We are aware of the evenews24 situation and the leaked list being discussed here. At this time we cannot comment on the information in focus but we would like to use this opportunity to remind everyone that buying ISK for real money is a violation of our EULA and anyone doing so risks getting the ISK removed and punitive action against their accounts, including possible permanent bans.
While we would like to be more transparent about the methods and tools we use to fight RMT, botting and such in EVE we must maintain a level of secrecy in order to conduct successful operations. A presentation is scheduled at FanFest later this month where these matters will be discussed in some detail.
Check back for EveNews24’s upcoming coverage of the Iskbank.com leak:
Iskbank.com customers speak out
EveNews24 Exclusive: The Vadim interview
CSM6 candidates weigh in
Phase 2: The Eveisk.ru dump
More developments as they occur!
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