US authorities have announced the closure of another huge cybercrime center in the middle of a extensive repression of illegal sites. The Justice Department said Tuesday it had officially closed RaidForumsa die the biggest dark web destinations for stolen data on the Internet, and stopped its alleged operator.
Authorities say 21-year-old Diogo Santos Coelho from Portugal personally sold stolen data through the site while also acting as “chief administrator”. Coelho (who passed by the hacker moniker “Omnipotent”) allegedly operated RaidForums from 2015 to January this year with help from other anonymous admins, court hears documents. British police arrested Coelho in the UK on January 31 at the request of the United States. He will remain in custody there until his extradition proceedings are finalized, officials said on Tuesday.
“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,” said Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite, Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division on Tuesday.
RaidForums demise comes amid a crackdown on cybercrime by US law enforcement. Last week, federal authorities helped shut down several other dark criminal websites, including Hydra, a large Russian-speaking market known for selling drugs and money laundering. U.S. authorities have also recently worked with Romanian police to facilitate the arrest of a number of men accused of operating Besa Mafia, a long-running scam site offering bogus “murder for pay” services. A botnet allegedly operated by the Sandworm Russian hacker gang was also disrupted by the FBI last Wednesday.
In addition to arresting Coelho, police also seized three domains and the Criminal Marketplace user database. RaidForums required cybercriminals to register anonymous accounts to sell and trade data using cryptocurrency on its site. At the time of its retirement, the site had over 530,000 registered users, CNN reporting.
For the better part of a decade, RaidForums served as a giant repository for stolen data. Hackers have used it to buy and sell a wide range of information, from stolen credit card numbers to routing numbers to stolen account credentials. Many companies that have suffered data breaches over the years would eventually find content from their sites spilled onto RaidForums at varying prices.
“This is another example of how working with our international law enforcement partners resulted in the closure of a criminal marketplace and the arrest of its administrator,” Polite said.