Dozens Nabbed in Takedown of Cybercrime Forum Darkode

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MORE THAN 70 people have been arrested around the world in the takedown of one of the most active underground cybercrime web forums, according to authorities.

Darkode, which had been in operation since 2007, was an online marketplace catering to cybercriminals buying and selling hacking tools, zero-day exploits, ransomware, stolen credit card numbers and other banking data, as well as spamming and botnet services, before authorities seized it this week.

roughly 800 criminal Internet forums worldwide, Darkode represented one of the gravest threats to the integrity of data on computers in the United States and around the world and was the most sophisticated English-speaking forum for criminal computer hackers in the world,” US Attorney David Hickton said in a statement. “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.”


The crackdown, dubbed Operation Shrouded Horizon by the FBI, was initiated two years ago by that agency’s Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, office but eventually included Europol and law enforcement agencies in more than 20 countries.

So far at least 12 people have been arrested in the US, and another 28 are known to have been arrested on Tuesday in Denmark, Germany, India, Israel, Romania, Sweden, and the UK.

The Kingpin

The alleged administrator of the site at the time of the crackdown was Johan Anders Gudmunds, a 27-year-old Swede who went by the online handles “Mafi,” “Crim,” and “Synthet!c,” and who took control of the forum from its founder in May, 2010, according to authorities.

Gudmunds allegedly created and sold a number of malware exploit packages (such as CrimePack, Antiklus and Pandemiya 2014), according to theindictment (.pdf) against him. He also allegedly created a botnet malware called Blazebot and controlled and sold access to a Zeus botnet that was 60,000 computers strong. The Zeus malware was designed to steal bank account credentials.



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