World’s Most Dangerous Hacking Forum Darkode Taken Down by FBI and Europol
Darkode, which is said to be the most dangerous cyber crime forums in the world, was taken down by the US Department of Justice on Wednesday night. The forum served as a meeting place for some of the most dangerous hackers in the world.
The operation, codenamed Operation Shrouded Horizon was led by the FBI and supported by Europol’s European Cybercrime Centre (EC3), with the involvement of law enforcement officers from 20 countries which includes Australia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cyprus, Croatia, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Israel, Latvia, Macedonia, Nigeria, Romania, Serbia, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
Darkode is popular for its though registration process where they granted access only to users that could prove they were professionals at their work, and had tricks and software to share or sell to others.
Many popular malwares, zero-day expoits, rentable botnets, access to compromised servers were being sold and exchanged on the forum.
According to Europol, Darkode had 250 to 300 active members before it was shut down. It housed some of the most infamous hackers in the world, including members of the “Lizard Squad” group responsible for the 2014 Christmas attacks on the Sony PlayStation Network and Xbox Live gaming services.
After this incident , Europol’s Director Rob Wainwright says: “Today’s global action caused significant disruption to the underground economy, and is a stark reminder that private forums are no sanctuary for criminals and are not beyond the reach of law enforcement. We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to make cyberspace as crime-free as possible for the world’s citizens.”
Law enforcement has successfully taken down some of the biggest, and most public, cyber black markets in the past too, but is this the end? Whenever they shut one down soon another appears- as was the case in the shutdown of the famous underground digital market Silk Road.