Hacking Forum RaidForums Shut Down and Founder Arrested in Global Police Operation

Image: Getty Images

The RaidForums hacker forum, used by cybercriminals to mainly buy and sell stolen databases, has been shut down and its domains seized by US law enforcement in a Europol-coordinated operation involving security forces. order in many countries.

“Dismantling this online marketplace for the resale of hacked or stolen data disrupts one of the primary ways cybercriminals profit from the large-scale theft of sensitive personal and financial information,” the ministry’s deputy attorney general said. American Justice Department (DOJ), Kenneth Polite Jr. said in a statement.

Prior to the forum’s seizure, hundreds of stolen databases containing more than 10 billion unique records for individuals had been offered for sale, the DOJ said.

The global crackdown, dubbed Operation Tourniquet, saw Europol, the UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA), the US Department of Justice, as well as Portuguese, Swedish and Romanian law enforcement officials working together to shut down the RaidForums hacker forum.

The different countries worked together on this operation for at least a year through Europol’s Joint Cybercrime Action Taskforce, where officials exchanged information with each other to allow investigators to define the different roles played by the individuals who were running the market, Europol said.

US charges have also been brought against the Portuguese founder and chief administrator of RaidForums, Diogo Santos Coelho, who was arrested in the UK in January. Coelho was accused of running the forum, which consisted of establishing a membership system where users of the site could pay to access chat rooms allowing the exchange of links, photographs and data related to cybercrime. .

Charges include conspiracy, access device fraud and aggravated identity theft in connection with his role as chief administrator of RaidForums.

Coelho is currently being held in the UK and could be extradited to the US pending court proceedings to face these charges.

Two of Coelho’s accomplices were also arrested. One, a 21-year-old British citizen, was arrested by the NCA in March but has since been released under investigation. At the time of this anonymous individual’s arrest, officers seized £5,000 in cash, thousands of US dollars, and froze crypto assets worth over half a million dollars.

Related coverage

Melvin B. Baillie