Darkode cybercrime forum seized as police arrest 28 members

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Darkode cybercrime forum seized as police arrest 28 members

In a coordinated takedown, law enforcement agents around the world have teamed up to shut down the well-known cybercrime forum Darkode, pursuing 70 of its members and associates resulting in 28 arrests so far. In the US, the Department of Justice and the FBI have announced criminal charges against 12 individuals including the site's alleged admin, Johan Anders Gudmunds, aka Mafi aka Crim aka Synthet!c, and the seizure of the site's servers. Dubbed Operation Shrouded Horizon, the effort by police in 20 countries took on a forum known as a place for cyber criminals to swap tips and tools (botnets, spamming services, you name it) of the trade. Brian Krebs has been reporting on Darkode's community for quite some time, including a profile published after its administrators tricked him into publishing details on a fake Java exploit.

You could only gain access to the password-protected site by invite, so it will be interesting to find out (the investigation is still ongoing) exactly how police got inside. Probably not coincidentally, the DoJ notes that two members of the forum recently plead guilty to charges relating to the SpyEye trojan designed to steal banking information.

Godmunds, a 27-year old from Sweden, is charged with not only running the site, but also operating a botnet, plus creating and selling malware to help other people create their own. Morgan Culbertson of Pittsburgh is charged with creating malware targeted towards Android phones, a New Yorker is accused of running a botnet that spread via Facebook and three Florida men have been charged with running a spam operation that exploited vulnerable routers. Europol called Darkode "the place to go to if you were an English-speaking cybercriminal", but now it's just another closed-down website with a seizure notice.

[Image credit: Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press]

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