FBI Shuts Down ‘Hornets Nest’ for Hackers Darkode

by on July 16, 2015

A prominent online forum dedicated to products and services used to commit cyber crime has been dismantled following an international law enforcement operation, the National Crime Agency (NCA) said.

Darkode.com, a site open only to those deemed to have the right levels of cyber and criminal expertise, was taken offline on Wednesday by the FBI.

US attorney David Hickton said: “Through this operation, we have dismantled a cyber hornets’ nest of criminal hackers which was believed by many, including the hackers themselves, to be impenetrable.”

A 26-year-old man from Coventry was arrested by the West Midlands Regional Organised Crime Unit. He was questioned and subsequently bailed pending further inquiries, the NCA said.

Officers from Police Scotland searched an address in Paisley and removed material for examination.

Five other people believed to have been members of Darkode have previously been arrested by officers from the NCA’s National Cyber Crime Unit, which has led and coordinated the UK element of the operation.

They are a 26-year-old man from Biggin Hill, Kent, arrested in November 2013; a 25-year-old man from Caterham, Surrey, arrested in July 2014; a 20-year-old man from Barking, Essex, arrested in July 2014; a 23-year-old man from Marlborough, Wiltshire, arrested in March 2015, and a 53-year-old non-UK national, arrested in Essex in March 2015.

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Steven Laval, senior investigating officer at the National Cyber Crime Unit, said: “This has been a truly global operation, targeting both the infrastructure of an online hub for high-end cyber crime, and suspected members of its criminal community.

“Despite the exclusive nature of Darkode and the technical skills of its users, this action shows once again that we can identify and pursue those we believe are seeking to offend through an apparently secure online environment, far removed from their victims.

“The NCA continues to work with partners in the UK and around the world to combat international cyber crime.”

Darkode.com was one of the most prominent English language web forums facilitating the trade in goods and services including malware (malicious software), Zero Day Exploits (cyber attacks exploiting software flaws) and access to compromised servers.

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