July 15th 2015
One of the world’s most prominent online forums dedicated to products and services used to commit cyber crime has been dismantled following an international law enforcement operation.
Darkode.com, a site only open to those deemed to have the right levels of cyber and criminal expertise, was taken offline yesterday by the FBI. At the same time, 70 people suspected of offences linked to the forum were arrested in 20 countries around the world.
In the UK, a 26 year-old man from Coventry was arrested yesterday by the West Midlands Regional Organised Crime Unit, and a property in Paisley was raided by officers from Police Scotland.
Five other people believed to have been members of Darkode have previously been arrested by officers from the NCA’s National Cyber Crime Unit, which has led and coordinated the UK element of the operation.
– A 26-year-old man from Biggin Hill, Kent, arrested in November 2013
– A 25-year-old man from Caterham, Surrey, arrested in July 2014
– A 20-year-old man from Barking, Essex, arrested in July 2014
– A 23-year-old man from Marlborough, Wiltshire, arrested in March 2015
– A 53-year-old non-UK national, arrested in Essex in March 2015
Steven Laval, senior investigating officer at the NCA’s National Cyber Crime Unit, said: “Despite the exclusive nature of Darkode and the technical skills of its users, this action shows once again that we can identify and pursue those we believe are seeking to offend through an apparently secure online environment, far removed from their victims.”
Darkode.com was one of the most prominent English-language web forums facilitating the trade in goods and services including malware (malicious software), Zero Day Exploits (previously-unknown cyber attacks exploiting software flaws) and access to compromised servers. It was set up in 2007 as an invitation-only site specifically to sell hacking tools. Only those proposed for membership by an existing user could join, but not until they posted a resumé of the skills and achievements that could contribute to the criminal community. There was a hierarchical membership structure, and the status of users determined who they could communicate with, and their access to the commodities and services on offer.
As an individual or a business, you can protect yourself from many cyber crime threats by ensuring internet security software and computer operating systems are up to date, and not clicking on links or attachments from unknown or suspicious sources. More information and advice can be found at on this website.