Huge Global Sting Yields World’s Biggest Hacker Bust EVER

Darkode has gone dark. One of the largest malware networks in the world has been completely dismantled and the criminals behind it will face trial.

Feds describe Darkode as an online, password-protected forum in which hackers and other cyber-criminals gathered to buy, sell, trade and share information, ideas, and tools to facilitate unlawful intrusions on othersEU computers and electronic devices.

"Of the roughly 800 criminal Internet forums worldwide, Darkode represented one of the gravest threats to the integrity of data on computers in the United States and around the world and was the most sophisticated English-speaking forum for criminal computer hackers in the world," said U.S. Attorney David J. Hickton of the Western District of Pennsylvania (pictured above right, with FBI Deputy Director Mark F. Giuliano). "Through this operation, we have dismantled a cyber hornets' nest of criminal hackers which was believed by many, including the hackers themselves, to be impenetrable."

FBI Went Undercover

To say the operation was covert is an understatement. Hackers and cybercriminals that wanted access to Darkode were allegedly vetted through a multi-layered process that started with an existing member inviting a prospective member to the forum. The prospective member had to showcase the skills or products that would benefit the group.

Darkode members allegedly joined forces to infect computers and electronic devices of victims around the world with malware so they could take remote control of computers. Their screening best practices failed, though. An FBI agent infiltrated Darkode and took it down from the inside as part of Operation Shrouded Horizon.

EUThis is a milestone in our efforts to shut down criminalsEU ability to buy, sell, and trade malware, botnets and personally identifiable information used to steal from U.S. citizens and individuals around the world," said FBI Deputy Director Giuliano. "Cybercriminals should not have a safe haven...

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