Darkode (opens in new tab), one of the biggest and most notorious cybercriminal forums was taken down, and dozens of people were arrested, the media reported on Thursday.
The FBI led the raid against the site this week, and it was supported by Europol's European Cybercrime Centre (EC3), and included police officers from 20 countries.
The operation was coordinated from command posts in Pittsburgh (USA) and The Hague (The Netherlands).
The operation resulted in 28 arrests, 37 house searches, and numerous seizures of computers and other equipment, Europol (opens in new tab)said in a report. Reports from Brazil (opens in new tab)have suggested arrest warrants were served against more than 62 hackers worldwide.
Blighty's National Crime Agency (NCA) states that the 28 arrests mentioned by Europol were made around the world at the same time as the site takedown, "bringing the total number of people arrested for suspected offences linked to Darkode to 70, across 20 countries,” The Register (opens in new tab) says.
“This signified the end of Darkode, the most popular English-speaking hacking forum ranking in the top five of the most prolific criminal forums worldwide, a ranking otherwise dominated by Russian-speaking criminal platforms,” Europol added.
Darkode.com was established in 2007 and was as notable for its size and popularity as for the malicious activities transacted there, which included carding, selling rootkits and malware, botnet rental, as well as the hackers' labour itself.
The more than 250-300 active users of Darkode formed a closed community. Membership was by invitation only, and after being vetted by a trusted member of the forum.
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.”