The U.S. Justice Department reported that law enforcement officials have shut down the Darkode online forum used by cybercriminals around the world and charged 12 people linked to the site.
“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,” said U.S. Attorney David Hickton.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation and U.S. attorney’s office in Pittsburgh led the investigation, known as Operation Shrouded Horizon. It included authorities from Europol and 20 countries in Europe and Latin America as well as Israel, Nigeria and Australia.
The Justice Department said 12 people were charged, mostly in the United States, in what it called the largest coordinated international law enforcement effort ever directed at an online cybercriminal forum. Europol said there had been 28 arrests. The investigation is continuing as authorities look into a total of 70 Darkode members and associates worldwide, the Justice Department said.
Cybercriminals used Darkode to trade stolen data as well as hacking and spam tools and services, and methods for cyberattacks on governments and companies. It was an invitation-only website, hidden by well protected Internet servers.